thursday, july 11:
Daw Kaw* is one of the tens of thousands of vulnerable people who has lost everything due to the ongoing conflict in Kachin state in northern Myanmar.
The 42-year-old widow and her five children were forced from their home in Hpa Re village, Kachin province when a bomb dropped near their house while she was cooking, partially destroying it. Afraid for her family and her own wellbeing, they left, and have been living in the Border Point 6 internally displaced persons (IDP) camp, just on the Chinese border, for over a year.
‘We decided to send ShelterBoxes to Myanmar following our visit to Kachin in March where we discussed plans with local and international non-governmental organisations, United Nations, and government ministers for the distribution of emergency shelter,’ said ShelterBox Operations Coordinator Alison Ashlin.
‘Our implementing partner the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED) has been overseeing ShelterBox distributions to vulnerable families affected by the humanitarian crisis, like Daw Kaw and her children.’
The ShelterBoxes have replaced previous dwellings in the IDP camp that consisted of stick walls covered partially with plastic sheets and a plastic sheet roof.
‘I don’t feel the wind blow and it’s much warmer inside than my previous shelter,’ said Daw Kaw.
Kachin is Myanmar’s coldest province. It even snows in the colder months. ACTED staff used a thermometer that showed there was an eight degree Celsius difference inside the ShelterBox tent from outside.
Daw Kaw also used to cook inside her old dwelling, which caused lots of smoke. She was pleased there was a tidy area prepared outside her new tent for cooking.
As well as the disaster relief tents, households at the camp also received other essential ShelterBox aid items like blankets, ground sheets and water filtration systems, bringing them shelter, warmth and protection.
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the family
tuesday, march 26:
When the gunmen attacked the village where Sitnoupan's parents lived, her mother was only five months pregnant with her. Their home was burnt to the ground and their animals were slaughtered. Forced to leave, they took very few possessions with them and fled to the jungle where they hid for months. Without even access to plastic sheeting, they made rudimentary shelters of banana leaves and foraged for food. On hearing about a camp in Myitkyina, a city in northern Myanmar, they walked for days with other families from other villages. However, on the outskirts of the town they were stopped by the military and sent back to the jungle. Two days later they tried again, this time under the cover of darkness. They successfully arrived at the camp in December 2012. Sitnoupan was born the following month.
Dr Alison Ashlin (UK), ShelterBox Operations Coordinator and Response Team (SRT) member, said: 'We met Sitnoupan's family last weekend where they were living in a communal shelter, with no privacy along with 16 other families. Lying on a mat, the mother was suffering from a fever, whilst the father was caring for the two-month-old baby. It is shocking to think that these are the lucky ones, because there are many more families still hiding in the jungle, and the rainy season is just a month away.'
'A consignment of ShelterBoxes has arrived in country,' added SRT member Sallie Buck (UK). 'We have had extensive consultations with humanitarian actors in Yangon, bilateral meetings with the United Nations in Myitkyina, and detailed needs assessments conducted by field officers from the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED) in Kachin, to ensure this aid will reach other vulnerable families.'
The Kachin conflict in the north-east has displaced tens of thousands of people and is one of many collectively referred to as the Burmese Civil War. Fighting between the Kachin Independence Army and Myanmar Army restarted in June 2011 after a 17-year-old ceasefire broke down and continued throughout last year.
thursday, march 21:
A consignment of ShelterBoxes is en route to Myanmar by sea where the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED) will oversee distribution to vulnerable families within Kachin state who have been made homeless by ongoing conflict.
In partnership with ACTED, SheterBox has recently returned from a mission to Kachin state in northern Myanmar where it is believed that more than 65,000 people may have been displaced in the recent conflict.
The purpose of the visit was to discuss plans with local and international non-governmental organisations, United Nations, and government ministers for the distribution of emergency shelter in the region.
His Excellency Mr Lajon Ngan Seng, Chief Minster of Kachin State Government, said that he welcomed this assistance and believes that the ShelterBoxes will be very valuable for families that have been displaced and forced to leave their homes.
Whilst in Myitkyina, the ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) visited three Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps that are home to up to 178 households, over 1,000 people. Services and provisions for these camps are being provided, but outside of the capital of Kachin the situation for IDPs is less favourable.
'I am very pleased with the ShelterBox partnership and would like to express gratitude to ShelterBox and its donors for the aid that has been sent,' said ACTED Country Director Kyphong Nguyen. 'It will alleviate the suffering of this population that has been displaced for almost two years and whose plight has received relatively little international media attention.'
SRT member, Sallie Buck added: 'Every deployment is different, but the obstacles faced for us operating in Myanmar are more political than that which I have previously experienced. Despite the challenges that the population of Myanmar have faced over the years, I have been touched by their kindness and dignity so I am delighted that ACTED and ShelterBox are able to work together to help the displaced people in Kachin.'
Current plans are to distribute the ShelterBoxes before the rainy season begins in mid to late May.
Tuesday, February 26:
A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) consisting of Sallie Buck (UK) and Alison Ashlin (UK) is traveling to Myanmar to meet with the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED) to find a suitable way to support families displaced by the Kachin conflict in the north of the country.
The conflict is one of many collectively referred to as the Burmese Civil War. Fighting between the Kachin Independence Army and Myanmar Army restarted in June 2011 after a 17-year-old ceasefire broke down and continued throughout last year.
'We have been monitoring the deteriorating situation in Myanmar over the past few months and have seen the violence escalate and displacement increase,' said ShelterBox Operations Coordinator and Response Team member Alison Ashlin (UK).
'Meeting with ACTED who already have an office in country will enable us to establish a clear need for ShelterBoxes and look at possible distribution plans. If our aid is appropriate for the area, we will transport boxes prepositioned in Singapore to allow for a rapid response.'
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between ACTED and ShelterBox, both agreeing to work together to help, where possible, respond to the dire need of the displaced families, who have been suffering since the outbreak of the conflict over one and a half years ago.