Amid political instability, Vietnamese in Myanmar keen to return home

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Amid political instability, Vietnamese in Myanmar keen to return home

Myanmar’s military checkpoint is seen on the way to the congress compound in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, February 1. Photo by Reuters.


Many Vietnamese living in Myanmar are eagerly waiting for repatriation flights to take them home amid the political crisis there.

The country has been churning since the army seized power and detained government leader Aung San Suu Kyi and much of her party leadership on February 1.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been coming onto the streets to protest the coup and at least 50 people have been killed.

Thanh Huynh, owner of a Vietnamese restaurant in Yangon, the country’s largest city and the site of massive protests, is extremely worried.

“Everyone feels very insecure about the current situation,” she told VnExpress. “We are looking forward to returning home.”

She said delivering food to customers has become difficult since many roads are closed. The political turmoil has also caused many Vietnamese to lose their jobs.

Le Du, a construction worker in Hmawbi, 50 km from Yangon, said though Vietnamese are “not really in danger,” the political instability has had a great impact on their life and job.

“Many companies have closed down.

“My job has been affected a lot: I have to work one day and take a few days off.”

He feels fearful since there are constant gunshots.

On Tuesday, the police opened fire on demonstrators, many wearing hard hats and clutching makeshift shields, who had gathered behind barricades in various parts of Yangon to chant slogans against military rule.

Protesters take part in a demonstration against the military coup in Mandalay, March 1 2021. Photo by AFP.

Protesters take part in a demonstration against the military coup in Mandalay, March 1 2021. Photo by AFP.

Dao Tung, a tour guide in Yangon, said he is experiencing his most difficult days in Myanmar.

“The army has blocked the Internet and Facebook. The Internet is disrupted from 8 p.m. to midnight and then completely cut off until 9 a.m.”

Tung moved to Myanmar about a year ago, and work and life were relatively good to start with. But things changed with the Covid-19 crisis and worsened after the coup.

“After the Covid-19 outbreak, I did not know when I could return to Vietnam and hoped the pandemic would ease so I could visit my family. But the military coup and following protests worsened the situation, making it difficult to return home.”

Many Vietnamese have lost their jobs since their companies were forced to shut down due to the turmoil, and are just waiting for a flight to take them home, he said.

He was lucky to have just booked on a flight which is scheduled to depart earlier this month.

“I hope there are more flights so that everyone can return home,” Tung said

The Vietnamese government is arranging special flights from Myanmar, with two flights carrying 390 Vietnamese home on Thursday.

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