MANDALAY, Myanmar (CNS) — About 1,000 people fled their homes and took refuge at religious sites as renewed fighting erupted in Myanmar’s Shan state.
Aid workers said more than 300 people were sheltering at a Catholic church in a village in Hsenwi township Aug. 19, while 700 people were at Mansu Shan Buddhist monastery in the town of Lashio, reported ucanews.com.
Tensions remain high and fighting has spread to several townships in Shan state since Aug. 15, following coordinated attacks by police and Myanmar’s military forces in Mandalay Division. The clashes have left 14 people dead — nine military officers, three police officers and two civilians. The military was fighting with three northern alliance groups: the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, the Arakan Army and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army.
A man identified only as Eddie, project coordinator of Karuna Lashio, a branch of Caritas Myanmar, said people started fleeing their homes and taking refuge at the church Aug. 17. Most, he said, were ethnic Kachins.
He said Caritas was arranging to send cash and food to the internally displaced people; agency staffers could not travel there due to roads being blocked by the authorities.
“We can’t tell exactly how long they (displaced people) need to stay in the church, as fighting has spreading in several townships,” Eddie told ucanews.com.
Gum Sha Awng, a spokesman for the Joint Strategy Team, an alliance of nine humanitarian groups, said fighting had erupted in northern Shan state Aug. 18 and was still continuing.
“We are monitoring the situation to respond to the relief works of new IDPs, but the blockage of routes has been our main challenge so far,” Gum Sha Awng told ucanews.com.
Clashes between the Myanmar military and Arakan Army have displaced more than 33,000 people in Rakhine and Chin states since November 2018.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103