Exodus Je Yang
Exodus Je Yang
Images by Hkun Li
Photographer Hkun Li follows villagers fleeing fighting on the frontline as they pour into the Kachin Independence Army safe hold of Je Yang IDP camp. Kachin State,
Je Yang camp, located just five kilometres from the frontline inside KIA territory, was firmly established as the primary IDP camp in 2011 after the outbreak of fighting between the KIA and Burmese government forces. The camp was planned well in advance by the KIO as tensions mounted after the elections of 2010. In the first week of fighting thousands arrived seeking refuge and the camps population has since grown to around 10,000.
Je Yang boasts a daily market, a hospital, schools, churches, running water and electricity in some areas and even has its own system of governance. The camp is densely populated and the KIA say they make efforts to avoid using the camp for military action so as to maintain its neutrality to protect civilians from shelling by the Burmese national troops down the road.
Six years after fighting resumed villagers are still arriving in Je Yang, often because of shelling hitting their village. Despite this being one of the better maintained camps there is still poverty. No stone structures exist, most dwellings are made of plastic tarps and bamboo which in the cold Kachin winters can pose a serious health risk.
A communal farm on the outskirts of the camp provides inhabitants with work and basic food. However, it’s far from the village life many left. Those who go back to their villages to harvest face the risk of land mines planted in their farmland and orchards.
Kachin villagers on the mountainous journey to Je Yang IDP camp, fleeing fighting on the frontline after a Burma army assault.
They carry all they can on their backs. For many it will be the last time they see their home village.
Villagers pour into Je Yang camp, the camp is a KIA safe hold and has remained peaceful since the resumption of fighting in 2011.
Children gather between huts in Je Yang camp.
A young boy receives emergency medical care from a KIO doctor in Je Yang.
A boy bathes his younger brother in the river near Je Yang.
The communal farm on the outskirts of Je Yang where villagers can earn a meagre living farming.
A young boy eats some KIO rationed rice in the walkways of Je Yang.
Recreation near Je Yang as children play in the river as adults wash.