According to administrators at Halochanee resettlement camp on the Thailand-Burma border, a recent influx of Mon internally displaced persons (IDPs), fleeing from the threat of conflict in southern Mon State’s Tavoy District, has stretched camp resources to the limit.
Tavoy residents have been fleeing from their homes to the Thailand-Burma border since last week, after the New Mon State Party (NMSP) publicly refused to convert its armed wing into a Burmese government-run force. The relocation of Burmese military battalions to the border of NMSP-controlled territory in Tavoy district instigated widespread fears of an impending invasion, and prompted a mass migration to the already-crowded Holochanee camp.
Food, water, and other supplies for members of Holochanee camp are overseen by a variety of non-governmental organizations, including the Mon Relief and Development Committee (MRDC), and the Thailand Burma Border Consortium (TBBC); however, sources inside the camp claim that such supplies are insufficient for the needs of the numerous IDPs who arrived last week.
“The food supplies will only be enough for the next 2 days. We not sure beyond then. But The TBBC [Thailand-Burma Border Consortium] came yesterday. They said when they arrived at their office in Thailand they would arrange for food supplies. But we have not heard from them yet,” reported a member of the Mon Relief and Development Committee (MRDC) from Halochanee.
According to this MRDC member, the organization has been taking a count of the Mon IDPs who have arrived in the camp from Tavoy since last week; as of today, 250 new arrivals have taken shelter in Halochanee, while another 279 are being sheltered at nearby Balikedonbike camp.
He also explain that the new arrivals in both camps are mostly women and children; they have fled from villages throughout the Tavoy region, including the villages of Tapyuchoung, Palan, Hanee, Chairtike, and A nie. Both camps are reported to be currently housing the new IDP population in schools and Buddhist temples.
A long-time Halochanee resident told IMNA that many of the new arrivals have shared plans to return to their homes inside Mon State as soon as the current threat of violence lessens. Besides the impending food shortage, the new IDPs in Halochanee have reported that the camp lacks sufficient sanitation facilities and shelter to house them properly; Halochanee camp is also reportedly suffering from a water shortage.
A woman from Tapyuchaung village, who arrived at Halochanee camp with her children last week, informed IMNA, “We don’t have plans to stay in Thailand because we have a plantation in our village. Now my husband is still at my home, we came to the camp first, because if the Burmese army comes he can run away easily. He will wait and [monitor] the situation.”