Rice Sent To Paletwa Will Only Last A Few Days

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A shipment of rice that was sent to Chin State’s Paletwa township falls short of what’s needed to feed residents for the month, according to a civil society organization. Salai John Pai Nang, from the Relief and Rehabilitation Committee for Chin IDPs (RRCCI), said the rice sent by the government, civil society organizations and private donors won’t last the famished township more than a few days.

Fighting between the Burma Army and Arakan Army (AA) has blocked water and land routes to the strife-affected township, Salai John Pai Nang said. Now it is “not only the IDPs (internally displaced persons) who are starving but also the regular residents that don’t have enough food.”

According to an RRCCI report, the food crisis affects all of the eleven-thousand people living in Paletwa town. Seven-thousands are regular residents and four-thousand are IDPs that had to flee from the fighting.

The township depends on food delivered from Kyauktaw in northern Rakhine State. After fighting blocked shipments sent by boat on the Kalandan River, efforts to send food by land failed after the vehicles were reportedly attacked by combatants. Until recently, there hasn’t been any food successfully delivered to the beleaguered township since early February.

Soe Htet, Chin State municipal minister, said there are plans to send more than the 830 bags that recently arrived in Paletwa. In Sami, 3,354 bags are waiting to be delivered. The conflict has caused a lot of regional instability and “why we’re staggering the trips.” When it’s safe, the government plans to send an additional 2,000 bags of rice, Soe Htet said, and the rest will be sent on subsequent trips.

Hostilities between the Burma Army and AA have caused the displacement of thousands of civilians. More than 3,500 IDPs have sought refuge in Paletwa town and 3,000 are sheltering in Sami, located in Mindat township.

The curfew is still in effect in Paletwa township, as well as a block on mobile internet service. The internet was blocked from June 21 to September 1 of last year. On February 3, the block was reinstated.

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