Farms Deserted In Chin State As Crop-Destroying Rats Become ‘Out Of Control’
Chin farmers in some of the most rodent-infested areas abandoned their farms and paddy fields as swarms of rats that eat up the crops en masse become ‘wild and uncontrollable’ in Chin State.
“About 70 families from Thangzang village, Than Tlang township have given up and left their farms in despair as a growing number of rats ravage all the crops,” said a local fact-finder, who wants to remain anonymous.
A survey revealed that more than 55,000 rats have been killed in Tikir village, 18,000 in Saikah village and 30,000 in Lailen village only in 2008. It is claimed that throwing a fishing net just onto a single corn plant would catch about 10 rats.
This massive infestation of rats due to the bamboo flowers and seeds which help, after being fed on by rats, procreate in an accelerated birth surge, has brought in Chin State severe food crisis, locally known as mautam, where the word mau literally means ‘bamboo’ and tam ‘hunger’.
The ongoing situation has grown worse as a prolonged period of abnormally low rainfall hits Chin State, leaving the farmers ‘bewildered and despondent’ for their survival.
The devastating food crisis has forced thousands of the Chin people to flee their villages in search of food relief, mostly into the Indian-Burmese border. As many as 200 villages with no less than 100,000 people are directly affected by the ongoing famine, according to a recent report by CHRO (Chin Human Rights Organisation).
Chin communities and individuals across the world along with some international organisations have been engaged in making efforts to bring food relief aids to the famine victims. A series of fundraising Chin Famine Live Aid concerts have been organised with famous singers from Burma and India’s Mizoram State in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.
Van Biak Thang
03 September, 2008