Myanmar refugees bearing brunt of military actions
Source: Chronicle News Service / R Lester Makang

Ukhrul, October 15 2021: The number of refugees from Myanmar taking shelter in villages along the international border is growing, according to Indo-Myanmar Border Mission (IMBM), an NGO working for the welfare of border villagers.

More than 130 Myanmar refugees are currently hiding in three border villages of India and Myanmar.

This is now adding to the total number of refugees who have crossed over to the border villages of Manipur, which is said to have crossed over 350 so far.

"Gun fights between Military Junta and PDF (People Defence Force) happen every now and then.

The only option for the civilians is to run away for safety," said N Wungkhai of IMBM.

As he fleeing refugees narrated their ordeals to IMBM, they (refugees) have been compelled to remain stuck in the forest and border villages since April due to the prevailing situation.

"They are now completely exhausted as they don't have supply from home nor do they have any job for living except some supply from the IMBM team," Wungkhai informed.

However, there's no positive response from the two governments of India and Myanmar on humanitarian grounds.

"But no matter who they are, we can't circumvent or run away from doing what we ought to do - extending basic assistance to those needy refugees who are hiding in the forest and villages for their survival" .

"Our team takes it as a privilege in responding to the cry of the refugees and we have volunteered to deliver certain essential goods six times already, though that might just be a few drops in this enormous crisis," Wungkhai said, while appealing for prayers for the ill-fated refugees.

Conveying the refugees' ordeals, he said that in their absence, their houses were robbed and expensive household goods like TV, clothes, precious ornaments and goods were stolen by the military.

The military forces too don't have a salary anymore; their only job for their survival is to loot from the civilians.

They are now becoming thugs and terrorists.

But then, they are scared not only of the Myanmar military but also the Indian Army who came and took the list of their names and warned them to leave the villages.

"That's why, we are here in the forest living in the tarpaulin and thatch houses," Wungkhai quoted one of the refugees.

"We don't know for how long the situation will go on in such a way.

We are weary and completely exhausted from everything.

We need essential foods for living, clothes and blankets as the winter is coming, simple shelter with tin sheet roof for survival, emergency medicines in time of sickness, and utensils for cooking and containers for storing water," he further quoted them as saying.

Things turned worse when a 65-year-old man died in a refugee village last month due to lack of doctors and medicine for treatment.

He was buried in this village.

"We don't know what we will do when we are sick.

Please help us!".

According to Wungkhai, the refugees don't want to go back home, they don't want to risk their lives either by staying there as the military are always moving here and there looking for PDF (volunteers), civil society leaders, students activists, democratic alliance groups, and whoever they think who oppose them.

They do not even spare the family members when they don't find the person they are looking for.

"Running away from them is the best decision to save our life.

Please help us!" Wungkhai said quoting the refugees.

It's already been two years, and their children are not going to school.

Neither do they have online classes due to the network and many other factors.

"We are worried so much for our children as they are now completely dropped out from school.

So, please do something for our children's education!" they cried for help.

On behalf of IMBM, Wungkhai called for prayer and support to the hapless refugees from across the border.

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