Thousands of Paletwa Residents ‘Have No Rice’

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The continued blocking of transportation routes into the southern Chin State town of Paletwa has created ongoing food insecurity, locals say.

Ferry routes and roads have been cut off between Paletwa and Kyauktaw in Rakhine State
since February 6 due to fighting between the Burma Army and the Arakan Army, leading to a
shortage of food in the area.

Even though the World Food Program (WFP) and the Chin State government has sent rice
other rations to Paletwa for internally displaced persons (IDPs), locals in the town say they are
now the ones without enough food.

“Bags of rice, which are sent from Sami [town]to Paletwa, are only for IDPs. It's enough for the
IDPs. The problem is that local people do not get rice,” Yar Kyaw, who is working with the
Paletwa Township Food Support Committee, told Khonumthung News.

Because of the shortage of food, prices of basic commodities have dramatically increased in
Paletwa Township, and there isn’t enough to meet the needs of the people.

Yar Kyaw estimated that more than 8,300 people from 1,771 Paletwa families were unable to
buy rice.

“There is no place to buy rice here. Few people have rice,” he said. “Some people have not had
rice since the end of July.”

The Paletwa Township Food Support Committee has called on the Chin state government and
civil society organizations to provide rice and other rations to locals in Paletwa as soon as
possible.

Peter Lwi Lue, the chief editor of the Khumi Media Group, said that local people’s difficulties in
Paletwa have been compounded by fighting that dates back to 2015, and the inability to tend to
their crops, as well as the road closures.

“Local people used to harvest their paddies in September. They cannot work on their rotating
farms and they cannot harvest, so they don't have rice. Local people are dependent on other
townships for rice. Now all transportation roads remain closed. Local people have many
troubles,” he told Khonumthung News.

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