Govt to Hold ‘Thingyan’ amid Water Shortages in Hakha
04 April 2012: The new government of Chin State is claimed to celebrate the Burmese New Year Water Festival in Hakha amid acute water shortages facing the local people in the capital of Burma’s northwestern state.
The Buddhist festival, better known in Burmese as ‘Thingyan’, a water-throwing event taking place over a period of four to five days is likely to be held from 13 to 16 April, the hottest month at 36 degrees Celsius (96.8 degrees Fahrenheit) in the hilly Christian state.
According to the Hakha Post last week, the water supply, badly maintained and exploited by the local municipal department, has been very limited and people in each block of the town haven’t got enough water even for cooking.
The previous celebrations of water festival involved a forcible collection of money from the Chin locals, who are mostly Christians, according to the community leaders in Chin State.
“It was normally held by collecting money from Christian members but they try not to participate in the festival. We believe that the celebration will continue as before,” the Chin leaders, whose names are kept anonymous, told Chinland Guardian.
It is claimed that the water crisis has been caused by problems relating to the high temperatures of the dry season and the non-functional water supply systems still in use, worsened by exploitation of the local municipal department.
In its report last year, the OCHA said the increase in urban population, and the depletion of water sources as well as aging water supply systems in rural Chin areas are affecting water availability, adding: “This problem could be further exacerbated during the dry season.”
Reporting by Thawng Zel Thang