Chin Famine Puts Mothers and Children At High Risk
Burma’s military-ignored famine has forced thousands of Chin villagers to flee in search of food for survival, leaving especially mothers and children vulnerable to famine-related diseases, sources warned.
Many children have been left malnourished and starved as their breast-feeding mothers do not have enough milk due to hunger and malnutrition.
“All the villagers including my own village are living day-to-day life by eating the jungle banana, yam and anything really. Some villagers eat even bamboo flowers,” Sasa who returned last week from a trip to the Indian-Burma border told Chinland Guardian.
“As a result, many villagers are suffering from all kind of gastro-intestinal disease, particularly indigestive. The water-born disease and respiratory disease are also widespread. This hunger makes their immunity lower, putting all the hungry villagers at high risk,” added a Chin medical student who gave free treatment to famine-hit Chin victims last month.
The villagers including many children who have to drop out of schools to support in fetching rice bags have to travel approximately 4 to 5 days on foot through the jungle to get to the Indian-Burma border where food relief aids can be obtained.
It was the most painful moment, Sasa said, when a pregnant woman finally got, after 5 days’ walk, to the clinic where I had to help out with her dead baby inside the belly due to malnutrition.
Many children have died due to famine-related malnutrition and many more at high risk, according to the recent reports.
Many elder villagers said they would like to commit suicide rather than to see their children crying and dying from hunger, according to Sasa who opened a free clinic at a village near the Indian-Burma border days ago. Sometimes, they would say to me ‘Where has God gone?’ Sasa continued.
This ongoing rat-infested crisis, which has brought food shortages since 2006, has been worsened as the famine-hit villagers are still forced to contribute money and food towards the ration of the SPDC’s soldiers camped in some areas in Chin State.
The devastating famine is reported to have been massively spreading from Southern into Northern areas of Chin State including Falam, Than Tlang and Tiddim townships.
Van Biak Thang
11 September, 2008