Severe Food Shortage Looms Over Burma’s Chin State
An increasing food shortage is gripping Chin State, Burma amid fears that as many as 200 severely affected villages are facing starvation and in ‘a critical point’, Chin Human Rights Organisation (CHRO) warned today.
The situation which is due to the cyclical flowering and dying of bamboos leading to the massive influx of crop-destroying rats in the areas has been worsened by the continuation of severe human rights violations and repressive economic policies by Burma’s military regime.
Salai Bawi Lian Mang, Executive Director of CHRO said: “This is just another example of the regime’s extreme disregard for the people of Burma. The regime has done nothing to provide assistance to communities in immediate need of food aid. Rather, they are obstructing relief supplies and hindering humanitarian efforts in western Burma.”
“The situation is at a critical point. The people of Chin State are on the brink of starvation. Action must be taken now to respond to this crisis,” added Salai Bawi Lian Mang.
Fears are mounting that the ongoing food crisis could immediately lead an estimated 100,000 people or 20 percent of the entire population of Chin State to high rates of starvation, malnutrition and rapid deterioration of people’s health. The report also claimed that more than 600 people have fled across the Indian-Burma border to Mizoram State in search of food security.
Last month, a trio of Chin delegation and a British photographer, Benny Manser who slipped across the India-Burma border into the affected areas in Chin State visited the UK, raising the awareness of food crisis and other issues affecting the Chin people such as forced labour, refugees, child soldiers and rape victims. The team also called on the British government and international organisations for immediate actions.
A website, voluntarily designed and created by Benny Manser, focusing on the ongoing food crisis in Chin State will be launched officially soon.
CHRO makes recommendations for immediate action to the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), the governments of India and Mizoram, and the international community.
Van Biak Thang
09 July, 2008