We are on a relief mission to help people under attack by the Burma Army in Karen State. The reports we make here in the field are then sent directly to you by satcom.
However, the reports written by the 53 multi-ethnic FBR teams are usually sent back to the support team, translated, edited and then sent to you. In the case of the report we are sending now, I wanted to just send it directly to you. The team leader sent it in English and we want to show you the raw situation and to show you how these teams work so that you could get to know the responsibilities and feelings of our ethnic team members. The report and photos below were sent to me by the leader of four Karen FBR relief teams in south-central (Dooplaya) Karen State, where the Burma Army is now attacking and killing villagers. We are north of this area and will thus relay these messages to you all.
God bless you,
Tha U Wa A Pa
A relief team leader
Northern Karen State, Burma
Dear Tha U Wa A Pa (leader and a relief team leader of FBR)
Today on 30/11/10, at 11:00 am, we visited Kwee Ta U village and left at 10 minutes before 12:00pm. And 10 minutes after we left we heard two mortars firing from Choo Ka Lee village, about 2 miles from Kwee Ta U. Then we immediately ran back to Kwee Ta U village and helped the villagers out from the village. The Burma Army have based their camp beside Choo Ka Lee village on top of the hill and are mortaring around the camp. So the villagers are afraid and left the village. All the villagers from Choo Ka Lee left the village two days ago. Now, they are hiding in the jungle. Today, we started leading the villagers from Kwee Ta U to hide in the jungle. We stopped at XX for a couple hours and cooked for dinner. Then the DKBA and KNLA (prodemocracy Karen resistance) fought the Burma Army, so we continued leading the people again to a safer place at XX X and, arrived at 7:30pm. Now, we stay with the IDPs. We give them security and encourage them that we will be with them full time in this situation. The villagers face a big problem; all of them did not finish collecting the rice on the farm. The school was shut down too. And the villagers and the school teacher have planned to do Sweet December, but it was canceled because the choice is in the jungle. They left all their animals and most of households. They hid some food in the jungle for being IDPs in the jungle. Today, we went through a village, Kwe Ta Hoe was quiet, no one left in the village before we arrive Kwee Ta U village. It was about a Kilometer from Kwee Ta U. The villagers complain and worry about their future very much, because they left all the crops in the farm. Now, we take care of them until they got safe and will send them back to the village if the situation is good. The reason they fled, they dare not to face Burma Army since the fighting happened. They are afraid of being captured, forced to porter and being made to be human landmine detectors. Now, we are with about 130 IDPs.
Tonight I visited around checked the villagers, children are sleeping on the ground by fire camp and parents are chatting about the situation, I am very sad. But we try our best and made sure that no villagers were left behind us. While we are leading them to jungle, the Karen soldiers led them ahead and we stayed behind them.
My plans, Now, I am staying with this group and our other team leader Thara Sa moved to the IDPs site that fled from Choo Ka Lee villge and around the area. So I would like to have a prayer request, pray for us and the people here. GPS coordinates (removed for security)
God bless you,
Team leader and Dooplaya K6 FBR Coordinator
|IDPs hide in jungle at night|
|IDPs continue their flight after a short rest break|
|67-year-old grandmother treated for dysentery while in hiding|
|Rice field IDPs cannot harvest because of Burma Army attack|
|A villager before being shot and killed by Burma Army|
|Villager's surviving wife and children|
Note: Here is an earlier message sent to use as we were coordinating more help for this area.
Now, we are still at Xx X IDP hiding site. We are watching the situation and hope it would be better. The fighting did not happen today around this area. But we heard Burma Army has a plan to clean this area, and they have a plan to transport the food also. The villagers here are afraid about the situation very much. They just want to move away from this area to Thailand or somewhere that's safe. For us, we try to find some way for villagers to help them finish collecting their crops. We suggested to them that we will keep and take care of their children, old and weak people in the jungle and safe places, so the parents and healthy people can go to farm and finish it. But they do not agree with this very much. They are just afraid. Today, they came and asked us when we will send them further and to safe place, they did it many times in this whole day. They feel very strong about being together with us. They just wait with us for the time we help to send them further. Many parents told us if we do move them tomorrow, they will find their own way to go further. We know that they trust and depend on us. Today, many villagers left us and moved to XX . Right now, only 83 villagers are with us, the rest have gone already. So, this evening at 5:30pm we gathered all the villagers and had a meeting. We explain them about the situation and encourage them; we will make a final decision tomorrow. We asked them about their opinions, and the result was that no one wants to stay here in the village. They just want to move. It is a difficult situation for us to make a decision. We are thinking about their future, they do not finish their crops at all, so how they will go on for next year unless they have rice? But the decision is now that we will move them further. They afraid if the fighting happens in this area, the Burma Army will capture them ask them to carry loads, act as guides, be used as landmine detectors, and that the Burma Army will arrest many villagers and use them as a cover on patrolling. So, we will make a final and best decision for them and lead them to some place. Tonight is visited the families for a couple hours, talked with and encourage them. They told me, if we are not with them, then no villagers would stay here anymore.
So please pray for us and the villagers. We need a good decision.
God bless you all
Team Leader and Dooplaya K6 FBR coordinator