Humanitarian Coordinator on Relief Convoy to Deliver Lifesaving Aid in Myanmar’s Kachin State
(Yangon, 14 June 2013) The UN Humanitarian Coordinator, Ashok Nigam, acknowledged the cooperation of the Government of Myanmar and the Kachin Independence Organization in allowing a UN-led aid convoy to deliver humanitarian assistance to people displaced in areas beyond Government control in Kachin State, for the first time in almost a year.
The 10-truck relief convoy departed Bhamo town on 12 June for Maija Yang town, carrying life-saving items including food, household kits, and hygiene and sanitation supplies. The aid aims to reach about 5,100 people displaced in multiple camps along the route, before it returns to Bhamo by 16 June.
“The cross-line convoy represents a positive step forward by the Government to help all people in need across Kachin State. It is crucial for this convoy to be the first of many, and that regular and unimpeded access to all people displaced in Kachin State is sustained,” said Mr. Nigam, who also expressed hope that this will be “an encouraging sign of positive progress in Kachin State, following closely in the footsteps of recent peace talks held in Myitkyina in late May.”
Since June 2011, fighting between the Kachin Independence Organization and the Government of Myanmar has forced an estimated 100,000 people from their homes, led to loss of life, and caused destruction of homes, livelihoods and infrastructure. An estimated 60,000 of the people displaced are living in areas beyond the Government’s control. Although local partners have had access and have provided some assistance to people displaced in these areas since the beginning of the emergency, UN-led missions have been on hold since July 2012 because permission has not been granted by the authorities.
Based on the situation that the UN and humanitarian partners observed almost a year ago, restrictions on humanitarian access have meant significant suffering of the people displaced in these locations, who were living in dire humanitarian conditions, which are set to worsen with the onset of the monsoon season which began in May.
“The humanitarian community is ready to assist all people affected by the conflict, and looks to the Government and the Kachin Independence Organization for their continued support in guaranteeing regular safe and unimpeded passage for humanitarian assistance, including for those delivering it,” stated Mr. Nigam. “We will continue to deliver assistance in accordance with the humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and operational independence.”
For more information, contact:
Aye Win, National Information Officer, United Nations Information Centre in Yangon (email@example.com /0095(0)9421060343)
Michelle Delaney, Public Information Officer, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
in Myanmar (firstname.lastname@example.org / 0095(0)9420275877)