Displaced since the outbreak of the ethnic clashes in 11 districts of Manipur on May 3, villagers staying at different relief camps in different parts of the state have voiced serious concern about their survival as uncertain future looms large over them. They, now worry about their life beyond the relief camp.
Although the conflict has been going on for nearly a month, villagers are still apprehensive of returning to their respective villages due to the looming tension; and they have expressed serious concern about their livelihood.
Among the displaced, those staying at Yairipok Angtha and Yambem area in Thoubal district also raised concern about their livelihood and have sought permanent measures for displaced people, including hundreds of children.
“We are thankful for the assistance that people provided us with but the question which worries us is, how long will the help keep going?” said one villager staying at a relief camp in Angtha Sinam Leikai Meira Shang.
Another staying at Yairipok Yambem High school relief camp urged authorities to enact permanent measures for displaced people so that they could sustain themselves after they find a place to settle when they leave the relief camp.
“Our hands are tied as we do not have any means to earn. As such, we are concerned about our livelihood,” he further said.
Speaking during the relief material distribution by the Wangkhei Angom Leikai (WAL) United Youth Club at Yairipok Yambem High school on Friday, chairman of the high school relief camp committee, Sanabam Jugindro, reiterated that the displaced villagers are a worried lot. They are concerned about their livelihood beyond the relief camp.
“Majority of them are simple farmers; their only means of livelihood is farming but that has been completely cut off because of the ongoing conflict situation,” he said.
Jugindro also stated that if the situation persists, the displaced villagers would face an uncertain future. And, many villagers fear to return to their respective villages that are destroyed in the communal violence
The relief camp committee expressed that the authorities concerned should swiftly enact permanent settlement measures and aid the villagers in taking up suitable livelihood initiatives.
Jugindro further informed that around 400 villagers from the periphery of Andro Assembly constituency were housed in the several relief camps set up in Yairipok Yambem area.
Some of the villages include Nongbram, Keithelmanbi, Ngamukhong, and Laikhong among others.
He highlighted that majority of the villagers had settled in the camps out of fear for armed Kuki militants.
He stated that there have been no reports of health issues and shortages of relief material at the Yairipok Yambem high school relief centre. He further expressed gratitude to the WAL United Youth Club for extending aid during these difficult times.
Meanwhile, chairman of WAL club’s Relief Mission for Meitei Victim Families, RK Gokulchandra extended gratitude to the 34 MLAs for their stance on non-extension of Suspension of Operation (SoO) with Kuki militants.
He expressed disappointment over Mizoram government’s request to relax Inner Line Permit (ILP) regulations for Mizos from Mizoram.
“The state is facing uncontrolled influx of illegal immigrants amid ILP implementation; if such relaxation is placed, the indigenes will be driven out of their own homes,” he said.
He also expressed gratitude to 34 MLAs for their firm stance on the non-extension of SoO with Kuki militants and reiterated the villagers appeal to set up permanent settlement measures and initiate livelihood means for those staying in relief camps.
WAL United Youth Club started its relief measures on May 4 and has since distributed relief materials to over 35 relief camps spread out in various parts of the valley.
On Friday, the club distributed various relief materials, including medicines to 11 relief camps in various parts of Yairipok under Thoubal district.
As many as over 40,000 people have been displaced and rendered homeless in the unprecendented ethnic violence since May 3, according to official sources.