Citing security concerns, the Burma Army blocked water and land routes to a village-tract in Ann Township, where it’s been battling the Arakan Army (AA) since January.
With transportation lines sealed off, more than 10,000 living in 42 villages in Dalet Chaung village-tract are out of rice.
Villagers are living off “eating bananas and jackfruit,” says Salai Lian, who is the spoke person of Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO).
According to the Geneva Convention, cutting off a community’s food source is a war crime, he told Khonumthung News.
Salai Lian explained that although all transport routes to the village-tract have been closed since early January, the Tatmadaw used to allow some food to reach villagers.
Since June 16, when the Burma Army began a clearance campaign, there have been no deliveries to the village-tract.
Before, residents could travel by land to the town of Ann to buy rice, cooking oil, salt and other essential items or by boat to Kantawng Gyi, in Myaypon Township.
Because the Burma Army believed some of the food was going to AA, all the transportation routes were sealed off.
“Even though people have money, they can’t buy rice,” says Salai Win Maung, who works with Chin Humanitarian Assistant Team – Rakhine State.
Some of the other villagers have moved to Shan Kon and Mingalardon, he says.
Salai Win Maung says Chin Humanitarian Assistant Team – Rakhine State and Relief & Rehabilitation Committee (RRCCI) planned to send 50 rice bags to the village-tract but is unable after the Tatmadaw blocked transportation routes.
Dalet Chaung village tract is located 25 miles west of the town of Ann.
The Tatmadaw has camps near Upper Darlet village and Shan Kon village in Dalet Chaung village-tract.
Out of the 42 villages in Dalet Chaung village-tract, 37 are Chin and 5 are Rakhine.