Thousands are facing severe food shortages in war-stricken Paletwa township. There are over 20,000 experiencing food insecurity, according to the Relief and Rehabilitation Committee for Chin IDPs (RRCCI), and at least 5,000 of those are internally displaced persons (IDPs).
RRCCI spokesperson Saw Mya told Khonumthung News the rice the government and the World Food Programme sent about a month ago has nearly run out. The 3,830 rice bags of rice sent in two trips in late April was only enough for about two weeks, he explained. “People are sharing what remaining food is left with each other.”
The government created the RRCCI in early May to manage the growing numbers of IDPs in southern Chin State uprooted by fighting between the Arakan Army (AA) and Tatmadaw.
In the beleaguered township, a bag of rice is currently selling for about 80,000 kyat (US$57), almost triple the average price in the rest of the country, which costs about 30,000 kyat (US$21).
Pau Lum Ming Thang, who is the Chin State Health and Social Affairs minister, told Khonumthung News they have enough rice stockpiled for the township until June or July. He explained, “the problem is we can’t send these rice to Paletwa for security reasons.”
Paletwa township depends on food delivered from Kyauktaw in northern Rakhine State. After fighting has blocked shipments sent by boat on the Kalandan River, efforts to send food by land failed after the vehicles were attacked by combatants. Until the deliveries in late April, there hadn’t been any food sent to the township since early February.
Pau Lum Ming Thang said they’re trying to send more rice and collecting more for the long months ahead. The government still needs to determine how many are displaced from fighting. The numbers of IDPs staying in the camps have been counted but not of those who are staying with their relatives in the villages, he explained.
There are at least 9,337 IDPs from 2,135 families in Chin State, Pau Lum Ming Thang said. According to the RRCCI, fighting displaced 5,090 from 1,132 families in Paletwa township and 2,961 from 698 families in Sami township.