A big “Thank you” to those of you who have been following this situation and supporting our efforts to keep our children safe. We are working within a wartime scenario where the report on the ground can change daily and sometimes hourly, so while there is certainly good news, it is not the end of the story.
Here are some good reports:
- The SPDC (Burma Army) has opened some of the major roadways in the northern areas near the Kokang region that were blockaded.
- China has reopened some of its border areas, and we have government permission to evacuate our children into some safe areas in the Yunnan province if major military engagement gets dangerously close.
These both were huge hurdles because we were potentially looking at thousands of lives lost in that area if war began.
Here are some continuing tensions:
- Even though the stories are under wraps from both sides, there are consistent reports of sporadic armed exchanges going on between Wa and Burmese forces in the Southern Resettlement area of the Wa in the Shan States.
- A key ethnic leader and proponent of peace and democracy died today, which further increases problems for the ethnic groups as they negotiate peace with the SPDC.
- If conflict emerges in the South, it is likely only a matter of time before the Kachin, Shan and northern Wa armies engage as well.
What are we doing in response to all this?
- The reopening of the Chinese and Burmese borders has allowed us to resume our building project for the children we hope to have out of the army and in our care by December.
- We are working on facilitating access into these areas on behalf of a few strategic NGOs that can help unify the region and put a spotlight on the conflict.
- Currently, we are moving our children back to the homes, since we have a clear escape route negotiated.
- We are finishing bomb shelters at our children’s homes.
- We are working with a former Special Forces member of our team to hone our evacuation contingency plan.
What can you do to help?
For those of you who have given financially to help us during this crisis, we are extremely grateful. We still need to cover expenses incurred during the evacuation, as well as building costs for the bomb shelters, so financial help is still very much needed. We also need you to continue spreading the word and shedding light on the issue. If the international community sends the clear message that we strongly support the peace and health of Burma (Myanmar) as a nation, it will be much more effective than a presidential condemnation of the junta’s policies or increased sanctions against an already struggling nation.
All the best,
Marcus and Jeremy