At least six people who escaped to the jungles to escape the growing conflict in Myanmar’s Chin state have reportedly died due to lack of access to medical care.
A pregnant woman, two infants, and three elderly people were the latest casualties since fighting erupted between Myanmar’s military and the Chinland Defense Force (CDF) militia two months ago.
A report from Radio Free Asia quoted a refugee from the township of Mindat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, that the six had died in the jungle while fleeing a junta offensive in the area.
“At least six people have died in the jungle due to lack of medicine,” the source said.
“The babies were just a few days old. There are old people [who died]. Some fell from the narrow mountain roads while escaping the fighting. Others died because they could not secure their usual medicine,” added the source.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimated that 230,000 people have been displaced by the fighting and violence since the military junta seized the government in February.
The OCHA report said more than 20,000 people were sheltering at 100 displacement areas in Chin state bordering India, while 177,000 people were displaced in Kayah state bordering Thailand.
Radio Free Asia said clashes between the military and the CDF have been raging in the remote township of southern Chin state in Myanmar’s northwest since April 26.
Up to 30,000 people have reportedly fled to safety.
Relief workers said access to food and medicine in the jungle and in other evacuation areas remains a challenge, and many refugees are suffering from illnesses, including seasonal flu and diarrhea, and supplies are desperately needed.