UN convoy in Kachin State, Mynmar

A United Nations (UN) convoy of urgently needed humanitarian assistance on Sunday reached...

 A UN Aid helicopter

A United Nations (UN) convoy of urgently needed humanitarian assistance on Sunday reached conflict-affected areas of Myanmar's northern Kachin State.

"This is a major step forward and follows sustained advocacy on the part of the UN with both the government and Kachin Independence Organisation [KIO]," UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Ashok Nigam said.

The convoy of four trucks and two UN vehicles arrived in the KIO-controlled township of Sadang from the government-controlled town of Myitkyina on 24 March.

Food assistance for more than 1,000 people for one month is being provided, along with a variety of non-food items ahead of the upcoming monsoon season in May.

This is the second time the Burmese government allowed the UN to access KIO-controlled areas since the armed conflict between government troops and the Kachin Independence Army broke out June.

The last convoy allowed into the area was in December.

"We now need to make these convoys a regular occurrence," Nigam said.

According to UN estimates, more than 60,000 people have been displaced by the conflict, including 20,000 in government-controlled areas and up to 40,000 in KIO-controlled areas; the vast majority are in camps.

Several thousand others are believed to be in China staying with host families.