Continuous fighting reported as first food aid reaches Paletwa in three weeks
19th April 2020
The first consignment of food aid arrived in Paletwa earlier today as heavy fighting continued between the Arakan Army and Burmese military near the entrance to the Town.
A convoy of ten lorries carrying 830 bags of rice enroute from Sami Town on Thursday, 16th April were stalled for three days on the road due to intense fighting between the AA and Tatmadaw in the area. The transport lorries unloaded the rice just two hours outside of Paletwa and returned to Sami Town yesterday. The rice were then carried by boats along the Kaladan River and finally delivered in Paletwa earlier today. The aid was supported with private donations collected from among Chin people from inside the country and abroad.
Both telephone lines and mobile internet access remain shut in Paletwa as heavy exchange of gunfire was reported from close vicinity of the town.
The rice supply was distributed to local residents and over 3600 internally displaced persons sheltering in Paletwa who have not received any form of food assistance for nearly three weeks since they had depleted the local food stocks last month. The last shipment of food from Sami Town was made on 29th March, but only 80 bags had made it to Paletwa as the AA had looted 20 of the 100 bags on the way before reaching its destination.
The only way in and out of Paletwa Town are the Kaladan Riverway, which is now becoming too dangerous for boats to nevigate due to active fighting, and a land route conntecting it to Sami, another bigger urban town in Chin State’s most isolated Township linking it to other townships in the southern part.
Meanwhile, continuous fighting was reported throughout the day bewteen the AA and Tatmadaw forces from Light Infantry Division 77 along the Kaladan River near Paletwa Town with LID 77 using fighter jets which pounded AA positions. Both sides were exchanging fires from accross the river from either side. The AA forces have occupied the mountain stretches along the Paletwa side of the River while the Tatadaw have taken positions from other side where there is an existing army base of Light Infantry Battalion 289.
With more rice stocks waiting in Sami Town, local aid workers are concerned about how long the ration will last the approximately 10,000 people in Paletwa Town before another successful delivery can be expected in the town.#