Fears For Famine-Hit Chins Grow As Corruption In Local Authorities Rules
Fears are growing among Chin communities worldwide for victims of famine-hit areas in Chin State as delivery of humanitarian aids has been hampered by corruption in the local authorities, a source disclosed.
More than 300 bags of rice donated by Roman Catholic Church and 150 bags of rice by the Church of the Province of Myanmar were seized and sold at an exorbitant price for profits by the local authorities according to Chin Human Rights Organisation’s reports.
Salai Bawi Lian Mang, Executive Director of Chin Human Rights Organization said: “We again stress the importance of quick action to respond to the dire humanitarian situation in Chin State. Timely response could really prevent a disaster. And unfortunately, the military regime is not interested in solving this problem.”
Mizoram-based Chin Famine Emergency Relief Committee (CFERC) reportedly claimed that Burma’s military regime still denied the current situation, saying ‘no famine in the country’ when a Church in Germany contacted. The committee is actively involved in sending out a team of volunteers to famine-stricken areas for fact-findings and reports amid risks of possible severe punishments from the military dictatorship.
An increasing number of villagers mainly in the Paletwa township in Southern Chin State are fleeing to the Indian border despite warnings from the military government.
Chin communities, churches, organisations and individuals alike have stood actively united in contributing and supporting to ease the situation since the outbreak of the ongoing famine.
Chin Human Rights Organization is calling on the State Peace and Development Council to allow unhindered humanitarian relief effort in Chin State and to create a conducive environment for delivery of basic needs for communities suffering starvation and famine in Chin State.
The famine which is causing serious shortage of food is believed to occur once every fifty years following a mass flowering of bamboos whose abundant seeds lead to an influx of rats that destroy all the crops. At least three devastating famines due to bamboo-flowering have been recorded in Southern Chin State since the 1860s.
Van Biak Thang
11 April, 2008