The Indian village sheltering more refugees than inhabitants

By Sangzuala Hmar

New Ngharchhip, India, October 17.- Residents of New Ngharchhip, a small village in Hnahthial district nestled on top of a hill overlooking the Chin Hills along the Indo-Myanmar border, have opened their homes to more than 460 Burmese citizens, who represent more of the current population of the hamlet.

“When they arrived, we went from house to house and asked people if they could give food, shelter. Many have responded to the demand, ”said Lalhmingtluanga, chairman of the village council.

Refugees began pouring into Mizoram state in northeast India in March after Myanmar’s military regime began cracking down on pro-democracy activists.

“Just across the Tiau river, on the adjacent side of our village, there are more than six Chin villages. Residents of these villages have sought refuge here since March. In September, we had to shelter more than 450 refugees, ”added Lalhmingtluanga.

New Ngharchhip has around 100 households and a population of 450. Many residents have temporarily settled in the big cities.

“It was a hectic job, we had to build them shelter and provide them with food and other daily necessities. We are such a small village and the majority of the population depended on government aid, so accommodating these many refugees became a heavy burden for us, ”said the chairman of the village council.

Although the villagers have shared what little they have, it remains to be seen how long they will be able to support the refugees.

“Whatever happens we will share what we have, turning down those in need is not our tradition,” said Lalhmingmawii, a resident of New Ngharchhip.

Like many in the village, Lalhmingmawii helped the refugees with daily chores.

Christina A. Kroll

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