An estimated 230,000 people have been displaced by fighting in Myanmar and need assistance, the United Nations said on Thursday, as a major armed ethnic group expressed concern about military force, civilian deaths and a widening of the conflict.
Myanmar has been in crisis since a February 1 coup ousted an elected government, prompting nationwide anger that has led to protests, killings and bombings, and battles on several fronts between troops and newly formed civilian armies.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said relief operations were ongoing but were being hindered by armed clashes, violence and insecurity in the country.It said 177,000 people were displaced in Karen state bordering Thailand, 103,000 in the past month, while more than 20,000 people were sheltering at 100 displacement areas after fighting between People’s Defense Forces and the army in Chin State bordering India.
Several thousand people had fled fighting in northern Kachin and Shan States, regions with established ethnic minority armies with a long history of hostilities with the military.
The Karen National Union (KNU), one of Myanmar’s oldest ethnic minority groups, said it was worried about the military’s excessive use of force and the loss of innocent civilian lives as fighting intensifies all over the country.