20 FEBRUARY 2013 EMG
A United Nations convoy of humanitarian aid for about 5,000 refugees arrived in Phakant, Kachin on Sunday and more convoys will be sent to the conflict-torn state, a UN official in Yangon said on Tuesday.
Aye Win, national information officer at the UN Information Centre in Yangon, said “we are also planning to give more assistance. Aid will go not only to Phakant but also to other needy refugee camps in other areas”.
The convoy to Phakant was the first of its kind to reach those displaced by fighting since the conflict between the Kachin Independence Army and Myanmar government troops escalated last December, the UN said.
Its 10 trucks – containing rice, cooking oil, salt, mosquito nets, blankets, medicine and water filters – left Myitkyina on Sunday morning and arrived in Phakant refugee camps that evening.
The supplies are for 5,000 refugees in 41 camps.
Ashok Nigam, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, said the UN welcomed the acceptance of humanitarian aid by the government and the Kachin Independence Organisation.
The UN estimates that more than 80,000 people have been displaced by the conflict in Kachin since it broke out in June 2011. President’s Office Minister Aung Min said in late January that there might be more than100,000.
Meanwhile, UNICEF said on Monday that it welcomed the official discharge of 24 child soldiers by the government’s military.