Paletwa in Crisis: 10,000 people face imminent starvation in Paletwa Town
At least 10,000 people are facing imminent starvation as residents of Chin State’s Paletwa Town are running out of food and basic commodity supplies due to ongoing fighting between the Burma Army and Arakan Army in the area.
Paletwa Town remains in a virtual lockdown situation as the town’s main supply routes are effectively cut off as a result of active fighting and troops from both sides having restricted movements in the area .
As the fighting escalate, the more than 7000 habitual residents of Paletwa Town are struggling to host an additional 3600 internally displaced persons from nearby villages who arrived in the town in the last three days to avoid fighting.
“Shops are empty and there are no food to buy and no outside food supplies have reached the town other than 100 bags of rice, which was transported from neighboring Sami Town on the 29th of March,” according to a local community leader who wants to remain anonymous.
According to the Chin Human Rights Organization, which monitors developments in the areas, the Arakan Army had looted a portion of the rice supplies enroute to Paletwa when the ethnic rebels accosted the transport vehicle and took 20 of the 100 bags of rice meant to feed the people of Peletwa Town two weeks ago. No food supplies have reached the town since.
There are only two main access routes to Paletwa Town: through the water way along the Kaladan River from Rakhine State’s Kyaukdaw Town and overland route from nearby Sami Town, which can be accessed from Maputi and Mindat Towns of southern Chin State.
But few people have dared to use the Kaladan water way as the route is prone to fighting and is extremely dangerous for transport boats to travel.