End of Funding Will Force Ei Tu Hta Karen Displaced Peoples’ Camp To Close
By S'Phan Shuang
Funding for thousands of displaced Karen people living at Ei Tu Hta IDP camp face a daunting future as funding will stop in September 2017.
Karen News is led to understand that the funding for basic food assistance for the displaced Karen people living at the IDP camp will end.
Ei Tu Hta camp, located on the bank of the Salween River in Papun District, Northern Karen State is at present home to as many as 3,400 internally displaced persons. The people had fled military offensives and had taken, what they thought was temporary refuge, but has lasted for more than a decade.
According to Karen community groups cordinating assistance for the camp, Ei Tu Hta camp be closed towards the end of 2017 because of a the lack of funding.
Saw Nay Tha Blay, the deputy director of the Karen Office of Relief and Development (KORD) confirmed to Karen News that funding is only secured until September 2017.
Speaking to Karen News, Saw Nay Tha Blay said.
“The main donor, the TBC, [The Border Consortium] can manage to provide assistance until September  – we were told that after September, it is uncertain there will be further funding.”
The Border Consortium (TBC) delivers assistance to refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border is also the main provider of basic food items to the Ei Tu Hta displaced population. The TBC works in partnership with Karen community-based-organizations to provide displaced people living at the camp with rice and salt, but the aid is to stop if there is no new funding secured.
Saw Lah Doh, a resident and a camp committee member said that the future loss of funding for the IDPs is cause of a great concern.
“If the camp is closed, we must return. Some people are afraid to return as the Burma Army soldiers are still present where they fled from. All our houses, gardens and farmland were destroyed. It will be very difficult for us to restart our lives from the beginning.”
Discussions and preparations have been taking place by funders and Karen community-based-organizations about the return and resettlement of IDPs communities. In December 2015, a preparatory committee was formed with representatives from the Karen community-based-organizations and local Karen National Union officials to work on the return.
According to sources from preparatory committee members, an assessment survey had been conducted to gauge the displaced peoples’ needs, but it was concluded that more discussions needed to be held to develope more detailed arrangements,.
Ei Tu Hta IDP camp was set up in 2006 for Karen villagers who fled the Taungoo and Nyaung Lay Bin Districts from Burma Army attacks on the Karen National Liberation Army [KNLA] 2nd Brigade areas. The Burma Army offensives are believed to related to securing territory for the establishment of the military regimes new capital city, Nay Pyi Daw.