The Myanmar Red Cross Society has teamed up with other social welfare associations to provide humanitarian assistance to refugees whohave been forced to flee their villages by the ongoing violent clashes between the Myanmar military and the Kokang rebels
As a member of the Myanmar Red Cross, veteran actor Wai Lu Kyaw, currently based in Kunlong, is busy making arrangements for the transportation of the refugees from Chinshwehaw to Kunlong and Lashio. He spared a few moments to talk with Myanmar Elevenrecently about the humanitarian work he is carrying out with his fellow Red Cross members.
How did it all start?
I’m a member of the Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) from Yangon Region. I’ve come here to dothe humanitarian work as a Red Cross member. Withpermission from the MRCS of Yangon Region and under the supervision of the MRCS’s headquarters, we have come to the frontierto liaise with other Red Cross members from Kunlong in evacuating the refugees from Kunglong, Chinshwehaw and Laukkaing areas. We are rescuing the people who are facing difficulties as a result of the clashes in Laukkaing area. We will continue to carry out our work.
To what extent has the humanitarian aid been given to the refugees?
We don’t differentiate between race, religion, and skin colour when we’re carrying out our humanitarian work. We are helping all the refugees. According to the Red Cross’s principles, we need to be impartial. We are helping all the refugees and the injured people.
What do they need most?
They need food supplies such as oral rehydration salt, purified bottled water, and dried food. It’s difficult to send the supplies from Kunlong to Laukkaing area. We can’t go there on our own. We can only enter the entrance to Laukkaing area. We can’t go any further. Even if we go further, we can only travel up to five miles awayfrom Chinshwehaw. There are six Red Cross members in Laukkaing. They risk their lives by travelling with their motorcycles. But they cannot carry the food packages for hundreds of people with their motorcycles. We are thinking of exchanging the donated money to the Chinese yuan and sending them to the refugees with the Red Cross members. The refugees can buy what they need on the China-Myanmar border. If they wish to walk to Kunglong, they will need plasters in case they get wounds on their legs. Since we can’t send them the supplies, we can at least give them the Chinese money. We will also give them our contact numbers. When they call us, we can go and pick them up.
There aren’t any difficulties, except for the danger. As some of you might be aware, our vehicles have been shot at even though they were carrying a Red Cross flag so we need to take great precautions. The rest is up to fate.
How much longerwill you continue carrying out your work?
I have decided to do this until the whole thing is finally over. But this is only my view. The association has contingency plans for any emerging disasters or dangers. After rescuing all the refugees, we will do the cleaning, rehabilitation to reunite families. I have decided to stay onuntil then.