Low water levels of Kaladan affect Paletwa in Chin State
04 January 2013: Transport for people in Paletwa Township of Chin State has been affected as water levels of the Kaladan river fall to a record low in years.
Local traders and travellers who are mostly dependent on Kaladan in southern parts of Burma’s northwestern state said their ferryboats were not able to make a journey as far as it used to before.
Last Sunday, people travelling on a ferryboat got stranded midway near Ngasha village before its final destination due to huge reduction in water levels, according to the Khumi Media.
“People have got to get off, wait and sometimes change for other ferryboats that have better engines. The whole thing really makes it more difficult, inconvenient and time-consuming,” said Peter Lawilu, a Khumi from Paletwa Township.
Deforestation caused by Chin traditional ‘swidden’ farming has been ascribed as one of the main factors affecting water conditions in the areas.
An NGO staff member from the local community said the problem was because of lack of sustainable forest preservation policies and management in place, adding: “It gets hotter year by year and if we keep on destroying our forest, it will only get worse and worse.”
Another local subsistence farmer told the Khumi Media that the current ‘slash-and-burn’ system of cultivation still remains the only choice they get to make a living.
The Kaladan River, known in different names local to the areas it passes, arises in central parts of Chin State, flowing across Paletwa Township into the Bay of Bengal through Rakhine State.
Reporting by Thawng Zel Thang