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Mizzima: Deforestation in Rakhine S

Deforestation in Rakhine State as the villagers have to send firewood
for Army

Dhaka, October 20, 2000.
MIZZIMA News Group (www.mizzima.com)

Due to excessive demand of firewood by the Burmese military units based
in Rakhine State of Burma, particularly in Minpya township, there has
been wide deforestation in the area. In Minpya township, military units
such as 379, 380 and 541 are being stationed after 1990 where as there
used to be only 40 soldiers stationed in 1988.

The Burmese army regiments have been consistently demanding the firewood
from the villagers for baking bricks for the military fund. Each family
of 260 villages from 64 village groups in Minpya town has to regularly
send 100 firewood sticks (length 2 half-yard and 3 spans rounded) to the
army six times a year.

Due to this, there is vast deforestation around the region of Minpya
township in Rakhine State, namely 14 miles-long Kyatsin mountain range
between Minpya town and Myepon town, 8 miles-long Taung Saing Kam
mountain range, another 8 miles-long Taw Tan mountain range and 15 miles
long Hpungta Chaung mountain range.

The villagers who live around these mountain ranges need at least four
hours walk to get to the forest for firewood and if they have to
continue to serve the Burmese army in this way, the villagers will later
have to use hay, bull shit and dried grass instead of firewood.