Aizawl: More refugees from Myanmar’s Chin state continue to enter Mizoram’s southern and eastern border districts due to continuous clashes between the Myanmar military and local civilian militia members, a police officer said on Saturday.
At least 12,939 Myanmar nationals, including women and children, are currently taking shelter in different parts of Mizoram. Of these, detailed information of 1,518 nationals is yet to be recorded, the officer said.
Their number keeps changing as there are new entrants almost every day, while some, who live near the international border, come and go on a regular basis, he said.
According to the police officer, the Myanmar nationals are provided shelter and food by the local people, community leaders, NGOs, churches and individuals.
According to state police data, six border districts of Champhai, Lawngtlai, Siaha, Serchhip, Hnahthial and Saitual together houses 9,411 refugees. The Myanmar nationals are taking shelter across all eleven districts with Champhai housing the largest number at 5,998, while there are 1,622 people in state capital Aizawl, the data said.
Tuipuiral group of Young Mizo Association (YMA) president MC Lalramenga said that about 2,690 Myanmar nationals are currently taking shelter in Tuipuiral area comprising 21 villages in Champhai district near the Indo-Myanmar border.
Refugees from Myanmar’s Chin state continuously enter the border villages and more influx is expected after their harvest season, he said.
Lalramenga said the local residents of Tuipuiral have set up relief camps and temporary shelters at 14 villages within Tuipuiral.
Apart from several NGOs, some churches like Presbyterian, Baptist and Roman Catholic provide food and clothing to the refugees besides monetary assistance.
Central Young Mizo Association (CYMA) vice president Lalhmachhuana said that the organisation has recently disbursed Rs 15 lakh to assist the Myanmar nationals.
The amount was collected through public donation, he added.
Lalhmachhuana said the CYMA will also send two trucks of clothing items to the two southern border districts for the Myanmar nationals next week.
Mizoram shares a 510-km long international boundary with Myanmar. Among six border districts, Champhai, Siaha, Lawngtlai and Hnahthial witnessed more influx from Myanmar after September 7, according to officials.
The northeastern state has been facing an influx from Myanmar since the military junta seized power through a coup in February. The Myanmar nationals are mostly from the Chin communities, who share ethnic ties with the Mizos.
Although the Mizoram government had made several appeals to provide asylum to Myanmar nationals on humanitarian grounds, the Centre remains tight-lipped on the matter.
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