WFP: ‘Food Plus Cash-For-Work Programme’ Underway In Chin State
15 February 2009: In response to the food crisis caused by a plague of rats, World Food Programme (WFP) launched its programme called ‘Food Plus Cash-For-Programme’ in six townships of Chin State.
In its recent report, WFP said the programme focuses on improving productive assets that will increase food security, such as agriculture land development, construction of trafficable roads as well as others identified by the local Chin communities. The project will also benefit a total of 6, 360 households in 50 villages, the report added.
The project activities, which are set to begin in mid-January 2009, will be carried out in coordination with UNDP, GRET (Groupe de Recherche et d’exchange Technologiques), KMSS (Karuna Myanmar Social Services) and CAD (Country Agency for rural Development).
The WFP’s report also said: “Project activities are underway and we are coordinating with UNDP who are implementing projects in the southern part of Chin Sate. Specifically, through 12 projects, WFP will develop 155 acres of terraced land in Tiddim, Falam, Hakha, and Thantlang Townships in collaboration with GRET, a total 15 miles of roads in Tonzang and Tiddim with KMSS, and 72 miles of road assets in Hakha and Thantlang with CAD. Each project will last 15-45 days.”
“The expanded terraced land is expected to support 1,898 households in 17 villages when completed, and the newly constructed roads will provide 28,972 villagers an increased access to 25 surrounding villages. The roads are expected to improve the communities’ food accessibility as well as access to water.”
Chris Kaye, WFP Country Director and Representative, told Chinland Guardian when asked about how WFP makes sure relief aids reach those worst famine-affected in the remote jungles: “We intend to carry out further assessments in March to help strengthen our understanding of the needs in more areas of Chin. As you rightly point out however, we are constrained by terrain and logistics capacity. Rest assured, with our partners, we will continue to do all we can to address the hungry poor in Chin.”
Chin churches, organisations and individuals worldwide have also been actively involved in contributing towards the betterment of the devastating situation facing their Chin fellows in military-neglected Burma since late 2006. A series of Chin Live Aid Concerts was organised in Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia to raise awareness and fund for the famine victims in 2008 and is set to take place this year in countries including Australia, United States, Canada and Europe.
Besides its report on the famine ‘Critical Point: Food Scarcity and Hunger in Burma’s Chin State’ in July 2008, Chin Human Rights Organisation has since 2006 been actively involved in initiating the famine concerts, raising awareness among international communities and collaborating with both local and international organisations.
Leaders of local religious and famine organisations said that they are willing to collaborate with international organisations and NGOs in order to address the situation more effectively.
Four Chin groups based in Aizawl, Mizoram including Chin Famine Emergency Relief Committee, Chin Humanitarian Relief Committee, Women’s League of Chinland and Public Affairs Committee, agreed to work in close cooperation by providing cross-border food aid to the worst famine-affected areas of Chin State, according to the report in October, 2008.
The Chin projects are funded with generous contributions from DFID (UK Department for International Development) and Denmark.
Van Biak Thang