The border between Burma and Thailand has become increasingly stressed over the past year as close to one million people continue fleeing Burma Army violence while civil war intensifies throughout the country.
Last month, Free Burma Rangers (FBR) teams spent a week serving 800 of those who have fled, both reactively to and preemptively from attacks, and are now living in make-shift shelters hiding along the Burma-Thailand border. Of these 800 people, most were women, children, and elderly men.
While some were supported by local non-government organizations (NGOs), many still lacked basic resources like food, water, and shelter.
Local FBR teams worked together to strategically travel to seven different IDP (Internally Displaced People) camps. A nearby Burma Army camp and Border Guard Force patrol forced the FBR teams to take detoured routes to reach the different camps and take extra caution on their movements in this area.
Besides encountering different Ethnic Armed Organization (EAO) checkpoints, the team drove through a series of ghost towns seeing almost no one in sight- an eerie sign that these villages had already fled from the Burma Army.
Upon arriving at different IDP camps, the FBR teams distributed clothes, rice, noodles, oil, salt, soap, shampoo, mosquito nets, tarps, and water, as well as installing ten 5-gallon bucket water filters.
Each visit included a Good Life Club (GLC) program. GLC leaders shared stories of hope, played games with the children, watched movies, and popped popcorn over the fire. Smiles and laughter were shared as children opened the lid in amazement of seeing popcorn for the first time.
FBR families spent the night at different camps under the stars and in the clefts of the rocks where the IDPs were living. In between camp visits one night, the FBR team heard from a distance the unsettling sound of mortar fire followed by multiple explosions: sadly, a sound heard by many living in and near Burma.
SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES