Thailand Sends Aid To War-Torn Burma

Thailand has sent its first shipment of humanitarian aid to Burma, a country devastated by war. The assistance will be distributed to around 20,000 uprooted people in three towns in Kayin State, also known as Karen State.

The aid, valued at approximately $138,000, will primarily consist of food, instant beverages, and other essential items. Over 2.8 million people in Burma have been displaced, primarily due to the conflict that ensued after the army’s takeover.

The Thai Red Cross is leading the effort to establish a humanitarian corridor, with support from Thailand’s Foreign Ministry and assistance from the army. The ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management will closely monitor the distribution process. Thailand’s Vice Foreign Minister Sihasak Phuangketkeow stated that the aid is purely humanitarian and has no connection to Myanmar’s political situation or conflicts. If the initiative goes according to plan and achieves its objectives, Thailand will consider extending assistance to other areas.

The initiative, which aims to provide aid through ASEAN channels, was launched during an ASEAN Foreign Ministers Retreat in Laos in January. The agreement stipulated a prompt cessation of violence, dialogue among relevant parties, the involvement of an ASEAN special envoy for mediation, and a planned visit to Burma by the special envoy. However, the generals in Burma did not take any action, making ASEAN appear powerless. Thailand’s Vice Foreign Minister, Sihasak Phuangketkeow, emphasized the importance of fair and transparent distribution of aid and fostering a conducive atmosphere for the peace process in Burma.

Significant portions of the country, particularly border regions, are under the influence of anti-military resistance groups. These groups consist of pro-democracy fighters who have joined forces with armed ethnic minority organizations that have long advocated for increased autonomy.

Critics argue that the aid will primarily help individuals in regions controlled by the Myanmar military, potentially giving them a propaganda advantage.