Zokhawthar (Mizoram) (Indo-Myanmar border) : Following the recent airstrike by the Myanmar army in the bordering areas of Myanmar, the situation is still tense, but there has been no report of any fresh violent incidents along the Indo-Myanmar border.
According to the locals of the Zokhawthar area in Mizoram’s Champhai district, which is the last border village from the Indian side, the overall situation is now peaceful.
Following the airstrike by the Myanmar army, as many as 5000 Myanmar nationals crossed over the international border and entered the Zokhawthar area to take shelter and many of them have now returned to their country.
Speaking about the current situation along the Indo-Myanmar border area, Rama, who is a local resident of the Zokhawthar area, told that the current situation along the border area is peaceful.
‘It’s unpredictable; sometimes it’s peaceful and within a minute you don’t know what will happen. Right now the situation is peaceful, but it was not good till the day before yesterday,’ Rama said.
Indian security personnel are vigilantly overseeing the movements of citizens from both countries on the Tiau River bridge, a vital link connecting Zokhawthar in Mizoram’s Champhai district to the Chin State of Myanmar.
On the other hand, Zothangliana, a local youth of the Zokhawthar area who also witnessed the recent airstrike by the Myanmar army, said that, on that day, the entire situation was horrible and along with other people of the Zokhawthar area, he also saw the bombing by the Myanmar army in the bordering areas of Myanmar.
‘On November 13, not only during the morning but also at night, they were continuously bombing. In the morning, around four, they started continuously firing and bombing. It’s a big problem for us. It’s very horrible for us. Afterwards, refugees started coming, and we helped them,’ Zothangliana, a local youth of the Zokhawthar area, said.
The refugees however are happy with the facilities and help that has been provided by the Government of Mizoram and local NGOs
25-year-old Khiannunpar, a resident of Chin state of Myanmar who is now living along with her family in a refugee camp in the Zokhawthar area says, ‘I am now nine months pregnant…Earlier, I visited a local health Sub-Centre for my health checkup and the administration has provided me medicines. Doctors and nurses also visited to inquire about our health. We also get ration. We are so happy with the Mizoram government’s work. They are supporting us.’
Myanmar refugee from the Bethel refugee camp, Vanlalruata says, ‘We came here in September 2021 as refugees. As of now, there are eight pregnant women in this camp…The Mizoram government and NGOs are supporting and helping us. They have provided us with medicines. The government is trying their best to mitigate our problems. We are thankful to the Mizoram government.’
James Lalrinchhana, Deputy Commissioner, Keifangtlang, Champhai District says that the Government has provided tents and other ammenties to the refugees.
‘From our office, we sent magistrates and officers from Disaster Management. They immediately assessed the situation and with the help of NGOSs there, they arranged food immediately required by people. Apart from that, they also require shelter…We sheltered them in community halls, schools’ the Deputy Commissioner told.
Among the 5,000 Myanmar refugees who are now taking shelter in six refugee camps in the Zokhawthar area in Mizoram’s Champhai district which is located along the Indo-Myanmar border, there are many women and children who are also living in makeshift tents in the camps.