– More Burmese have been displaced over the past year than in any other since 2002, the Thailand Burma Border Consortium (TBBC), an umbrella group of NGOs working along the border, said in its annual survey released on 25 October.
“It is a paradox that the current democratic reforms coincide with an escalation of conflicts and militarization, which made poverty worse,” Duncan MacArthur, the TBBC emergency relief coordinator, told IRIN, adding that there was an urgent need for the country to achieve national reconciliation.
“The main reason for poverty is armed conflicts, which restrict humanitarian access to the affected areas,” said Saw Htooklei, secretary of the Karen Office of Relief and Development, a community-based organization working with internally displaced Karen people.
According to the TBBC survey, at least 112,000 Burmese were displaced between August 2010 and July 2011. While some fled to Thailand and others returned to former villages or resettled elsewhere, more than 450,000 people remain internally displaced in the southeastern region.