Chin Welcomes WFP’s Announcement For Relief Assistance
12 January 2010: A new pledge of WFP (World Food Programme) to continue providing relief asssistance to mautam-hit Chin victims has been welcomed and received as a ‘New Year hope’ by Chin people across the globe.
“We are very pleased to hear that WFP will continue to work in Chin State. WFP and its partners have done a great deal of contributions and responses to the ongoing food crisis facing the Chin people. Food security in Chin State will continue to be an issue and a big challenge. To fight this rat-caused starvation, we need a coordinated effort in any possible way we can,” said Victor Biak Lian of CHRO, who is one of the public faces for a global campaign against starvation in Chin State.
Swe Swe Win, Program Officer of WFP in Rangoon, said in Mizzia News last week that WFP will continue its assistance program in the country including Chin State under the new Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO), which will continue from 2010 to 2012 to improve food security, nutrition status and livelihood of the vulnerable population in Myanmar.
Food assistance will be increased throughout Chin State, with areas targetted based on the vulnerability and food insecurity, the Program Officer told Mizzima.
Recently, Mizoram-based CFERC (Chin Famine Emergency Relief Committee) said that a total of 11,507 rice acres and 4,316 corn fields have been destroyed by the rats in Paletwa Township, the worst-affected area in Southern Chin State.
Khawma, Secretary of CFERC, told Mizzima that the food crisis situation is getting worse in several areas of Paletwa Township, where villagers are now depending on jungle fruits and roots.
Due to difficulties of communication and transportation in some areas of Chin State, only about 60 villages out of over 400 in Paletwa Township can be accessed, according to UNDP (United Nations Development Program) in Rangoon.
In response to the food crisis caused by a plague of rats, World Food Programme (WFP) early last year launched its programme called ‘Food Plus Cash-For-Programme’ in Chin State, focuses on improving productive assets that will increase food security, such as agriculture land development, construction of trafficable roads as well as others identified by the local Chin communities.
Some villagers are not happy with WFP’s programmes in some areas as only those who take part in the activities are given food, meaning a large sector of vulnerable people including the elderly, young and disabled are being overlooked.
In 2009, WFP provided 1088 metric tonnes of food and Kyat 85 million to the people in six townships in Chin state including Hakha, Thangtlang, Falam, Tonzang, Matupi and Tedim under food-for-work and food plus cash for work program, according to Mizzima News.
Since 2007, Chin people have been suffering from military-ignored food crisis caused by a plague of rats that destroy all the crops and food storages in Burma’s most backward Chin state.
Van Biak Thang