Over 15,000 Myanmar’s nationals have so far entered Mizoram seeking shelter in India after fighting intensifies in parts of the neighbouring country following a coup.
The influx into Mizoram, which shares a porous, mountainous border with Myanmar, began in late February as policemen fled to avoid having to take orders from a junta trying to suppress opposition to the Feb. 1 coup.
By April, about 1,800 people from Myanmar – including several lawmakers – had crossed the border but the number has recently grown to more than 15,400, said vice chairman of Mizoram’s State Planning Board, H. Rammawi.
“It is increasing day by day,” Rammawi told a news agency.
He said many people from Myanmar were going to the homes of relatives making it difficult to track numbers.
Communities in Mizoram and some parts of Myanmar have close ethnic ties, with extended families often strung across both sides of the border.
Around 6,000 of the people from Myanmar are in Mizoram’s capital of Aizawl with others scattered in five districts, Rammawi said.
He said that residents and non-government organizations were taking care of the people but the state government had sought assistance from federal authorities.
“Medical aid and their rations are very important,” he said.
Rammawi said some people from Myanmar had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
With fighting intensifying in northwest Myanmar’s Chin State, opposite Mizoram, Rammawi said he expected the numbers seeking refuge in India to increase.