People living in the remote township of Kawnglanghpu in northern Kachin State are facing food shortages nearly three months after a landslide on 18 February completely cut off access to other areas.
According to Ar Moe Si, the Lisu National Development Party’s lower house MP for Kawnglanghpu, food prices are rising steeply as supplies run out.
“The price of a bag of rice in the first week of May was already 16,000 kyat per pyi [about 2.5 litres],” he told DVB. “Phone lines are out of service and many people have nothing left to eat but bamboo shoots.”
He said around 30 homes and local farms, as well as five wooden bridges and three rope suspension bridges in the area were destroyed by heavy rainfall and a landslide that cut off all transportation routes out of the area.
Kawnglanghpu is about 130 miles from Burma’s northernmost town of Putao and is normally accessible only in the dry season.
“The paddy yield this year was very low and so the rice stock has been inadequate,” said Ar Mo Si. “People have to rely on rice imports from China, but as the transportation routes to China were also cut off, the locals are in need of urgent help.”
With a population of around 12,000, Kawnglanghpu Township has a cold climate year round. The area is covered with snow for much of the year, making it difficult to access even under normal circumstances.