The government distributed rice to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Paletwa town, as well as locals who live near the town, over the last week, a spokesperson for the Chin State government said.
People in the area have been struggling to get enough food since roads from Sami town and waterways from Kyaktaw in Rakhine State have been blocked due to the ongoing fighting between the Burma Army and the Arakan Army.
“We gave out rice rations for a week. We gave rice to the whole IDP population in the camp,” Chin State government spokesperson and municipal minister Soe Htet told Khonumthung News. “We also distributed rice to local people in villages,” he added.
The Chin State government sent 3,528 bags of rice—provided by the Union and state governments and private donors—to Paletwa from Sami town on June 21 with a Burma Army convoy. It’s enough for one month, Soe Htet said.
“I think we will need at least 8,000 – 10,000 rice bags per month for the whole of Paletwa Township. We were able to distribute only 3,500 rice bags for IDPs and local people, who live in 30 villages near Paletwa town. These 3,500 rice bags are just for a month,” he explained.
The municipal minister said that the road linking Matupi, Sami, and Paletwa is difficult to use during the rainy season, so the Chin State government is planning to send more rations to Paletwa through the Sittwe, Kyauktaw, Paletwa waterway.
Rice in Paletwa currently is selling at 65,000 to 70,000 kyat (around US$50) per bag. Minister Soe Htet said that the state government is planning to sell 500 reserve bags of rice to locals at 30,000 kyats ($21) per bag.
Due to the ongoing clashes, more than 5,000 IDPs have sought refuge in downtown Paletwa and 3,000 in Sami.