AIZAWL: Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga has said that over 24,200 Myanmar nationals took refuge in the state following a military coup in the neighbouring country. 

“As per the government record, as on February 12, there are 24,289 Myanmar refugees taking shelter in Mizoram,” the Mizoram chief minister informed the state legislature. 

He said that the number of Myanmar nationals fleeing to the state has swollen recently due to renewed clash in the neighbouring country, especially in Chin state. 

The figure of Myanmar nationals is fluctuating almost every day with new entrants and because some refugees used to return to their villages and come back on their own. 

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Zoramthanga also told the assembly that the Myanmar nationals are provided with food, shelter and other forms of assistance by the state government, NGOs, churches, student bodies and village authorities on humanitarian grounds. 

He said that his government has urged the Centre to help the displaced Myanmar nationals but it was not possible for the Central government to directly help them because India is not a signatory to UN Refugee Convention of 1951 and its 1967 Protocol. 

“The Centre assist us and in turn we help the Myanmar nationals,” Zoramthanga said, adding that his government has sought more assistance to the state so that it could provide assistance to the Myanmar nationals. 

He further said that the state government is making efforts to ensure that the displaced Myanmar nationals don’t face problems. 

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Meanwhile, state home minister Lalchamliana informed the state legislature that the state government has so far released Rs 380 lakhs for the provision of assistance to people displaced from Myanmar. 

“The funds are being utilised for construction of relief camps, provision of food, drinking water and items of clothing, electrification, medical assistance and sanitation facilities, among others,” the home minister said in a written reply.  

He said that the displaced Myanmar nationals took shelter in all the 11 districts across the state with Siaha district housing the highest at 8,381 followed by Champhai  (5,925) and Lawngtlai district (5,409).  

Kolasib district in the northern part of the state bordering Assam has the least number at 135. 

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There are 499 Myanmar nationals taking shelter in Aizawl district as per the government record, as on February 12, the home minister said. 

He said that 143 relief camps have been set up in different parts of the state. 

Of the total 24,289 Myanmar nationals, 9,033 have lodged in relief camps, while the rest 15,256 live outside relief camps, he said. 

Mizoram shares a 510 km long international border with Myanmar. 

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The influx of people from Myanmar began in late February last year following the seizure of power by the Myanmar military on February 1. 

The Myanmar nationals taking shelter in Mizoram are mostly from Chin state, who share ethnic ties with the Mizos.