Dwindling Food Supplies In Paletwa

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Food markets in southern Chin State are nearly empty after prolonged fighting has prevented river boats from transporting goods to markets.

Clashes between the Burma Army and the Arakan Army (AA) in southern Chin State and northern Rakhine State have stopped all shipments of rice, cooking oil and other domestic products from reaching Paletwa township since early February.

“There’s no rice left in the market; the shops have already closed. We have the money but we still can’t buy it,” a government employee told Khonumthung News.

There’s also very little fresh and dried food, he said.

“It’s really difficult to buy onion and garlic.”

For the shops that still have stock, the prices of rice, food and petrol have doubled.

A bag of rice bag is going for 30,000 kyat (US $21). A gallon of gasoline is 10,000 kyat (US $7). Four eggs now cost 1,000 kyat (US 70 cents)  and a viss (3.6 pounds) of betel-leaf is 10,000 kyat.

If the boats don’t start shipping goods soon there won’t be anything left to buy, said the government employee.

Responding to the fuel shortage, the township’s electricity department cut power from 4 hours a night to only three.

The only way to get food and supplies to Paletwa from Kyauktaw township, located in northern Rakhine State, is by the river, said Soe Htet, the spokesperson for Chin State and  minister of municipal affairs.

“It’s a big challenge for the state government,” the minister explained.

The problem was reported to the Union government last week and it will take steps to alleviate the food crisis affecting the area, Soe Htet said.

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