Food Crisis Escalated In Unreached Southern Chin State
30 September 2009: Some responses have been made to tackle the ongoing rat-and-bamboo-related food crisis from both inside Burma and cross-border assistance but there are still many villages in Southern Chin State where Chin victims remain ‘unreached’, Chinland Guardian learned.
An estimated 20,000 people of over 40 Dai villages have been severely affected and suffering from hunger in the interior areas of Southern Chin State, with the bamboo flowering in mid 2007 followed by an outbreak of rats in early 2008.
Coordinator of Dai Relief Committee based in Rangoon, whose name is kept anonymous, said: “The people have suffered from M’tam food crisis for more than two years. But until today, we have not received any food assistance from relief aid groups, both local and international. Probably, the aid groups do not know about the food crisis in our areas due to difficulties in transportation, communication and lack of information.”
In order to get to the Indian-Burma border, a local villager takes a total of 4 days on foot, travelling along the footpath in the mountainous bamboo-covered jungle. From a major Dai village called M’kuiimnu, it takes 3 days on foot to Mindat town, 4 days to Matupi and Kanpalet, and 5 days to Paletwa, according to a local pastor.
“The disaster locally known as M’tam, is becoming so serious in the Dai areas that people cannot reap their crops as they are all eaten up by the mice before harvest. So a lot of people face food shortage which is a growing body of concern now,” added the Dai-Chin in his email request for prayer.
Bamboos, as the main resource in the Dai’s livelihood, are used for buildings, crafts and domestic uses. This phenomenon in which a bamboo flowers, bears fruits and dies consequently has brought to the Dai people another problem of shortages in their day-to-day life struggle.
Until today, only two Christian churches are reportedly said to have contributed towards helping the Dai-Chin victims of food crisis in two villages this year.
It is estimated that there are about 160 villages with more than 60,000 Dai-Chins in Southern Chin State, living along the west and east banks of Lemro river (Phunglong) in the central area of four townships, namely Mindat, Kanpalet, Paletwa and Matupi.
Van Biak Thang