Relocated Myitsone villagers face health problems in new place

Myitsone villagers forced to relocate by the Burmese junta in Northern Burma, Kachin State are now suffering from varied illness and lack of health care facilities in their new place, said local people.

Children are the worst sufferers and their lives are threatened because there is no facility for treatment, said a source who visited the place.“Almost all the poor children are sick,” said the local pastor quoting a nurse who is visiting the place.

The new place is Lungga Zup village, where villagers are being forced to live. It has polluted water and a lot of mosquitoes breeding on the stagnating water ponds.

People have been afflicted with malaria, cough and cold, said a resident.

“People are ill with malaria and dysentery but they only get Paracetamol and Biogesic,” said the resident.

The authorities provide these two medicines whatever the illness.

There are no clinics or medical care in the village. A nurse from Tang Hpre village in Myitsone comes to visit once a week, said the villager.

The junta continues to forcibly relocate villagers living around the Irrawaddy Myitsone dam construction site about 27 miles from Myitkyina the capital of Kachin State. People forced to live in the new place are neglected without support from the government, said local sources.

So far four villages with hundreds of villagers have been shifted to the new place in Lungga Zup village about 18 miles from Myitkyina.

They are facing a lot of problems with no future and no livelihood opportunities, said the villagers in the place. “Our livelihood is a problem there because we were into agriculture and it is difficult to start here again,” said a villager.

The resident, who visited the new housing site in Lungga Zup said, villagers are just wasting their time without doing anything with little support from the authorities. They are buying food with their own money.

The new place is full of rocks and red earth, which will not support cultivation. A lot of them miss their old places and are going back to visit their farms.

Mazup village was relocated on May 28 and three other villages Dawng Pan, Sut Ngai Yang and Shoi Ba moved early this month. They were forced to move by the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), Burmese Army officers and over 1000 civilian workers who were ordered to help shift.
The villagers were not allowed to take their domestic animals like, cattle, pigs and chicken. Meanwhile, the security is tight restricting them from going outside the new place.

Fresh batches of Burmese troops have been deployed in the dam construction area for security this year with two more battalions— Infantry Battalion No. 298 and No. 297 under Regional Operation Command (ROC, or Da-Ka-Sa) from Danai Township in Kachin State, said Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG) chairman Awng Wa.

The junta has been arresting and investigating hundreds of locals especially those living close to the Myitsone dam project after the April 17 serial bomb blasts on the construction site.

Environmentalists say at least 15,000 people will be relocated because of the hydropower electricity project.

“We have heard June 28 is the last date for all villagers to shift from their village from around the dam project site,” said Awng Wa. “They (junta) do not care about the people but are keen about their benefit.”

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