18 Months into War, Life’s a Struggle in Kachin Camps – The Irrawaddy

JEYANG CAMP, KACHIN, BURMA —Scissors in hand, Nlam Bok Mai sets about gutting a few cardboard boxes, trimming them down to function as makeshift frames dividing up the eggs, onions, chili and tomatoes she has for sale in her roadside shop. A year-and-a-half ago, this 24 year old mother of one was a farmer and housewife in Ban Saw, a village 25 miles (40 km) west of where Burma meets China. But after the 1994 ceasefire between the Burmese government and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) broke down in June 2011, war resumed in the jade and hydropower-rich northern region. The renewed civil war has forced around 100,000 civilians from their homes, including Nlam Bok Mai, her husband and their infant son. “We arrived here in June last year, right at the start of the fighting,” says Nlam Bok Mai. “We heard that the [Burma] Army was coming, and everyone in the village left before the soldiers got there.”