Arakanese Refugees from Chin State Contract Malaria, Cholera in Mizoram

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The displaced people are suffering from food shortages and drinking unclean water, community representatives say.

By KHONUMTHUNG NEWS

Displaced people from Chin State’s Paletwa Township seeking refuge in India’s Mizoram state have reported suffering from severe stomach pain, malaria, and cholera in the forest camps where they are currently staying.

The refugees—who are mostly ethnic Arakanese—are in India after fleeing clashes between the Myanmar military and the Arakan Army in Paletwa.

“The displaced people don’t have mosquito nets—that’s why they are suffering from malaria,” said Ko Yawna, a Chin volunteer within the community. He explained that the Arakan National Movement distributed mosquito nets, but that the people were currently using them to catch fish in a local river instead of sleeping under them, due to food shortages.

They are also drinking untreated water from this river, which has led to the spread of cholera, Ko Yawna added.

Community leader U Maung Oo told Khonumthung News that the approximately 360 displaced people seeking refuge in the Mizoram village of Hmaungbuchhuah hope to return to their homes by September, but that the area was still unstable.

“It’s impossible,” Ko Yawna said of going back. “I went to Myitwa [in Rakhine State]a few days ago. It’s quite difficult to live in the area. They are not sure what to do. Last time [they were displaced], they couldn’t decide whether to return. Finally, they went back home. After that, they had to flee again.”

He added, “there is no certainty—some people want to go to back to their area, but those who went back could not stay in their villages for long. They came back again.”

Those who are in the informal camp in Mizoram arrived in May and June, Ko Yawna explained, and that there are no new arrivals.

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