Intense fighting in Myanmar forces 1,400 refugees to seek shelter in Mizoram
The Myanmarese, including women and children, arrived in eastern Mizoram’s Champhai district over the last 48 hours with gun battles between the army and civilian outfits in their homeland
Around 1,400 Myanmarese, including women and children, have sought shelter in eastern Mizoram’s Champhai district over the past 48 hours owing to the fierce gun battle in progress between the army and civilian outfits in their homeland, officials said today, 14 November.
Indian officials said that the massive fight between Myanmar's Tatmadaw (military) and the pro-democratic People's Defence Force (PDF) has been ongoing for the past several days, causing a fresh influx of refugees from the neighbouring country.
Champhai district’s district organiser V.L. Hruaimawia said on Monday, 13 November, that around 1,400 men, women and children had fled from the Chin region of Myanmar and sought shelter in the district.
"The district administration has provided food and relief materials to the refugees. Necessary medical aid were also given to those hapless evacuees,” Hruaimawia told IANS over phone from Champhai.
He said that with the fresh arrival of refugees, the number of refugees from Myanmar taking shelter in Champhai alone has risen to 7,004, adding that the newly arrived Myanmar nationals may return to their country after the situation normalises.
Media reports have said that the intense fighting between the Army and the PDF started after the latter attacked military bases at Khawmawi and Rihkhawdar in Chin state, near the Indian border. According to the media, the PDF took over the Myanmar military base at Rihkhawdar on Monday.
Around 7 people were reportedly killed and 20 others injured in the gunfight.
Eastern Mizoram’s six districts -— Champhai, Siaha, Lawngtlai, Serchhip, Hnahthial and Saitual — share a 510 km unfenced border with Myanmar's mountainous Chin state.
The first influx from the neighbouring country happened in February 2021 when the junta seized power. Since then, 32,000 people from Myanmar have taken shelter in the northeastern state.
A majority of the refugees live in relief camps and government buildings, while many others are accommodated by their relatives and a large number of Myanmarese have been staying in rented houses too.
The state government, church bodies, Mizoram’s largest voluntary body the Young Mizo Association, NGOs and many individuals are providing food to the Myanmar refugees, who belong to the Chin tribal community which shares close ethnic ties with the Mizos, besides having language and lifestyle similarities.
The Mizoram government earlier sought financial and logistical support from the Centre for Myanmar nationals, but the Union government has yet to respond.
Chief minister Zoramthanga wrote several letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other central ministers seeking financial and logistical support for the Myanmar refugees.