Food shortages drive Chin residents to Mizoram

Sep 17, 2008 (DVB), A man and a woman from Ngafaipee village in Htantalan township, Chin State, died from hunger and exhaustion on Monday after carrying food supplies from India’s Mizoram state, a local resident said.

Food shortages in western Chin state have forced many to cross the border to neighbouring Mizoram state in India to buy food to bring back to their villages, while others have fled the country entirely.

The crisis was brought about by diminishing food stores caused by the mass flowering of bamboo in Chin state and an infestation of rodents attacking the crops.

A resident of nearby Haka said many people were in desperate conditions due to the lack of food.

"The situation is dire. They have to go all the way to the Indian border to get food. They can only afford to eat one meal a day," he said.

Some young Chin people from Htantalan have been going to Malaysia illegally in search of any available job to send money home through charitable organisations in Haka.

The World Food Programme is working with local organisations to provide some assistance to victims of food shortages in Chin state.

Reporting by Khin Maung Soe Min

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