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Food Security in Chin State

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Title: Food Security Surveillance survey Comparative Report Southern Chin State, Kanpetlet Township
Date of publication: October 2011
Description/subject: June and October 2011..."Solidarites International (SI) started its intervention in Kanpetlet Township, Southern Chin State in March, 2011. After conducting two rapid assessments in the two townships of Mindat and Kanpetlet in September and December 2010, SI launched a food security intervention in Kanpetlet Township, with the support of WFP and CIAA1. SI started its intervention with a blanket food distribution funded by WFP in 67 villages, targeting 10,000 people, around 1900 HH. The beneficiaries’ selection was based on the rodent infestation level: most of the selected villages had been severely affected by rodent infestation, and the majority of the villages had lost at least 75 % of their crops. In each selected village, all the villagers, except the government employees, received 10 kg of rice per month, for 2 months. In parallel, SI launched a food security project funded by CIAA. The specific objective of this project was to improve the access to food and to restore the production capacities of the communities affected by the rodent infestation. The project activities included corn and paddy seeds distribution, Food for Work (FFW) for rodent control and rat trap distributions. This project targeted 58 villages, for a total of 8800 beneficiaries. Within the framework of this project, one of the expected results was to monitor the food security situation in the targeted area, in order to better understand the main constraints faced in terms of access to food, and thus to better address the needs. SI conducted 2 food security surveillance surveys during 2011 project implementation period: the first assessment was done in June 2011 and the second assessment end of September/ beginning of October 2011.The rationale behind conducting those 2 surveys at that time was to collect data both towards the beginning and the end of the lean season in the area. The present report shows a comparison between the main findings of those 2 food security surveillance surveys..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Solidarites International (SI)
Format/size: pdf (515K)
Date of entry/update: 17 February 2012


Title: WFP to continue assistance to Chin State
Date of publication: 07 January 2010
Description/subject: The World Food Program (WFP) has pledged to offer further help to Chin state in western Burma plagued by rat infestation and other natural disasters leading to food shortage over the last three years. Swe Swe Win, program officer of WFP’s office in Burma’s former capital Rangoon on Tuesday said, WFP will continue its assistance program in the country including Chin State under the new Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO), which will continue from 2010 to 2012 to improve food security, nutrition status and livelihood of the vulnerable population in Myanmar. The amount of the operation is not available.
Author/creator: Salai Pi Pi
Language: English
Source/publisher: Mizzima
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 20 October 2010


Title: A Land of Beauty and Misery
Date of publication: January 2010
Description/subject: Breathtaking vistas of Chin State contrast starkly with the hardships of life in this often-ignored corner of Burma... "The Chin people I met during my visit to this northwestern part of Burma take great pride in the natural attractions of their land—a place of dense forests and deep gorges, where exotic flowers cover steep mountains, which often lie enveloped in cool, refreshing mists. Children in Chin State are the most vulnerable to disease and malnutrition. (Photo: KO YUYA) But the natural beauty belies the hardships of life in this isolated highland, where ordinary people face privations that are severe even by the standards of a country ranked among the world’s most impoverished. Much of the suffering here is not, however, merely a matter of poverty. Besides the struggle to find food and earn a living, many must also contend with various human rights abuses committed by the Burmese junta..."
Author/creator: Ko Yuya
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 18, No. 1
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 28 February 2010


Title: MYANMAR: Chin State - a mountain of trouble
Date of publication: 07 December 2009
Description/subject: In the remote western Chin state, Ngite Pan, 46, ekes out an existence, feeding herself and her 15-year-old daughter by planting millet. Occasionally, she sells a traditional intoxicating brew called Khaung-Yay, also made from millet, which earns her about US$4 a month. It is the widow’s only source of income, and most of this money is spent on buying rice to supplement the millet - but it is not enough.
Language: English
Source/publisher: IRIN_ humanitarian news and analysis
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 20 October 2010


Title: On the Edge of Survival: The Continuing Rat Infestation and Food Crisis in Chin State, Burma
Date of publication: 24 September 2009
Description/subject: Executive Summary" "Since late 2007, the people of Chin State have been struggling with massive food shortages and hunger after the vast bamboo forests that cover the mountainous landscape of Chin State began to flower and die- a process that occurs twice every century. Already struggling for their survival due to decades of severe economic repression and human rights abuses, this natural disaster has left the Chin people on the edge of survival. This report is a follow-up to CHRO’s July 2008 report, “Critical Point: Food Scarcity and Hunger in Burma’s Chin State,” which first brought worldwide attention to the dire humanitarian conditions facing the Chin people. This report provides an update on the current conditions in Chin State, the effects of the food crisis, and responses taken to assist people in the affected areas of Chin State. The bamboo of Chin State began to flower in late 2006. Attracted to the fruit produced by the bamboo, the flowering process triggered an explosion in the rat population. After exhausting the fruit supply, the rats turned on people’s crops and food supplies, causing massive food shortages for local villagers dependent on farming for their livelihood and subsistence. In 2008, CHRO estimated that as many as 200 villages were affected by severe food shortages associated with the bamboo flowering, and no less than 100,000 people, or 20 percent of the entire population of Chin State, were in need of immediate food aid. CHRO now believes those figures are much higher. Since CHRO first reported on the crisis, food shortages spread to seven townships in Chin State as well as parts of Sagaing Division. Up to 82 percent of the farmland has been destroyed in certain affected regions of Chin State. In several villages, each and every household is in need of immediate food aid. The consequences of the food crisis are also more apparent now. Over 54 people are known to have died due to the effects of extreme malnourishment and famine-related disease; children comprise the majority of recorded deaths. As access to affected regions is limited, this number is likely to be an underestimate. Disease and malnourishment is widespread, particularly among women, children, and the elderly. Children with little ability to concentrate on studies due to hunger have been forced to drop out of school in order to help their families forage for food: school enrollment rates are down 50 to 60 percent from last year. Several thousand Chin have fled their villages to search for food elsewhere. More than 4,000 have already arrived to the India and Thailand border. Villagers are now struggling with hunger and severe malnutrition due to food shortages in Chin State. Children are particularly at risk of malnourishment. (© CHRO, 2007) Up to 82 percent of the farmland has been destroyed in certain affected regions of Chin State. (© CHRO, 2009) The situation has been made more acute by the ruling military regime’s utter neglect of the suffering, compounded by policies and practices of abuse and repression against Chin civilians. As thousands struggle with hunger, starvation, and disease, the SPDC continues practices of forced labor, extorting excessive amounts of money from villagers, confiscating people’s land and property, in addition to other severe human rights abuses. Such actions have strained the Chin people’s ability to cope with the impacts of the natural disaster. Since the food shortages were first reported by CHRO, efforts have been made to respond to the food crisis. After initially dismissing the situation in Chin State, the WFP conducted a follow-up investigation and eventually acknowledged the existence of food shortages in Chin State. During a recent mission to the area, WFP reported “food consumption *to be+…worse than any other region visited by the Mission.” WFP and their coordinating partners initiated relief programs in early 2009 that continue to be implemented in various affected areas of Chin State. Chin community-based groups in India have also organized relief teams to deliver food aid to remote villages in Chin State. These teams are responsible for delivering over 30,000 kilograms of rice to 54 villages in six townships from May to July 2009 alone. Despite concerted efforts from multiply fronts to assist the affected population, Burma’s military government, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), continues to do nothing to respond to the food crisis in Chin State. Rather, the SPDC has exacerbated the crisis through sustained human rights abuses and economic repression, further undermining the livelihoods and food security of the Chin people. Forced labor, extortion, and confiscations of land and property continue unabated within the affected areas. SPDC has denied repeated requests for food aid, even as it reports a rice surplus. Local authorities have banned villagers from receiving foreign aid, threatening reprisals against anyone who accepts foreign aid. Government neglect and continued abuse; inadequately supported relief efforts; and pervasive hunger and food shortages have the potential for catastrophic humanitarian consequences. The effects of the bamboo flowering and rat infestation are expected to last three to five years. During the last bamboo cycle, half a century ago, 10,000 to 15,000 people reportedly died due to the associated effects of hunger and disease in neighboring Mizoram State. The people of Chin State today struggling with the same natural disaster have the added burden of military repression, abuse, and neglect. They are on the edge of survival now; but their struggle is far from over."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO)
Format/size: pdf (2.38MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs07/On_The_Edge_of_Survival-2.pdf
Date of entry/update: 18 September 2009


Title: On the Edge of Survival: The Continuing Rat Infestation and Food Crisis in Chin State, Burma
Date of publication: September 2009
Description/subject: This report is dedicated to the memory of John Tuihing, a Chin human rights activist and relief worker who drowned on 30 October 2008 in a boating accident while delivering much-needed food aid to communities struggling with food shortages in Paletwa Township, Chin State. John joined as a staff member of CHRO in April 2008 based on the India-Burma border. He had recently assumed the position of acting coordinator for the Chin Famine Emergency Relief Committee (CFERC), a Mizoram-based cross-border relief team. He will be remembered as a dedicated activist, committed to protecting and promoting the rights of the Chin people. Our work continues in his memory.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Chin Human Rights Organization
Format/size: pdf (3.04 MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/index.php/news-and-reports/reports/title/on-the-edge-of-survival-th...
Date of entry/update: 20 October 2010


Title: Myanmar: Chin State - Rodent Infestation Area (2008-09 Monsoon Crops) (map)
Date of publication: 05 August 2009
Language: English
Source/publisher: MIMU
Format/size: pdf (605K)
Date of entry/update: 11 August 2009


Title: MYANMAR: Rats exacerbate food insecurity in Chin State
Date of publication: 03 February 2009
Description/subject: Food insecurity in Myanmar’s remote and impoverished Chin State, northwestern Myanmar, has worsened following a major infestation of rats. “It has been well documented that food insecurity in Chin is chronic,” Chris Kaye, country representative for the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) told IRIN from Yangon, the former Burmese capital.
Language: English
Source/publisher: IRIN_ humanitarian news and analysis
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 20 October 2010


Title: An Overview of the Food Security Situation in Chin May 2009
Date of publication: 2009
Description/subject: Chin state is located in the north-west part of Myanmar, bordering India and Bangladesh. Most of the state is hilly and mountainous having an average height of 4,000 ft. The main livelihood activity is agriculture and shifting cultivation or slash and burn farming, is widely practiced. In Northern Chin State, the economic activities are mostly agriculture activities (vegetable and fruit production), livestock, weaving, small trade and seasonal labor work. Regarding food security, the Northern Chin State is representative of upland agriculture systems and the farming systems are based on rotational fallow method to allow time for the regeneration of soil fertility. Over the last twenty years, most of the villages have faced a marked reduction of the fallow period (from 15 years to 6-9 years) due to the increased pressure on agricultural lands. Consequently both natural resources management and agricultural production have been significantly affected.
Language: English
Source/publisher: The World Food Program (WFP)
Format/size: pdf (340.29 K)
Date of entry/update: 20 October 2010


Title: Food Crisis Deepens in Chin State
Date of publication: 08 October 2008
Description/subject: At least 1,000 villagers are currently facing a food crisis in Haka Township in Chin State, a Rangoon-based Chin development agency told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday. The Country Agency for Rural Development (CAD), a Roman Catholic-based NGO which facilitates sanitation, education and construction projects in the most remote villages of Chin State, said it assessed the food situation in 20 villages around Haka Township last week and discovered that seven of the villages faced a severe and immediate food crisis.
Author/creator: LAWI WENG
Language: English
Source/publisher: News and Periodical Enterprise, Ministry of Information, Union of Myanmar
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.irrawaddy.org/print_article.php?art_id=14410
Date of entry/update: 20 October 2010


Title: Critical Point - Food Scarcity and Hunger in Burma’s Chin State _ 2008 (Special Reports)
Date of publication: July 2008
Description/subject: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: "The military regime of Burma has been consistent in their inability and unwillingness to protect and provide for the people of Burma. Burma’s human rights record provides testimony of decades of widespread violations and abuses perpetrated largely at the hands of Burma’s military rulers and their agents against the Burmese people. Dissent is regularly silenced and opponents brutalized. In a country once known as the “rice-bowl of Asia,” Burma is now one of the poorest countries of Asia due to steady economic deterioration driven by the regime’s mismanagement. Many in Burma live without access to proper schools, healthcare facilities, reliable electricity, safe drinking water, and stable food supplies. Cowed by policies of extreme oppression and tactics of intimidation, life for much of the population in Burma is a struggle for daily survival. Add to that a natural disaster- and survival in Burma reaches a critical point. Western Burma’s Chin State is at such a point. Since 2006, the region has been plagued by a severe food crisis following a steep reduction in the local harvest and food production. The year 2006 marked the beginning of a new cycle of bamboo flowering, which occurs about every 50 years in the region, triggering an explosion in the population of rats and resulting in the destruction of crops. This has caused a severe shortage of food for local communities primarily dependent on subsistence farming through shifting cultivation. The phenomenon has been documented three times since 1862, and each past event ended in a disastrous famine for the communities in the area. Compounding the impending food crisis in Chin State due to the bamboo flowering is the continuation of severe human rights violations and repressive economic policies of the military regime, which serve to further undermine the livelihoods and food security of the Chin people. The use of unpaid civilian forced labour is widespread throughout Chin State, which consumes the time and energy of local farmers and reduces their crop yields. The regime also forcibly orders farmers to substitute their staple crops for other cash crops, and has confiscated thousands of acres of farmland from local farmers for tea and jatropha plantations. Meanwhile, arbitrary taxes and mandatory “donations” collected from Chin households by the Burmese authorities total up to as much 200,000 Kyats a year in major towns.2 This includes the unofficial collection of money from the Chin public by officials in various government departments at the local level to support such programs as tea and bio-fuel plantations; and extortion and confiscation of money, properties, and livestock by military units stationed at 33 locations across the state. The rising cost of living and skyrocketing food prices is also adding to the already dire humanitarian situation in Chin State. In the last four years, the price of rice has quintupled from 6,000 Kyats a bag in 2004 to as much as 30,000 Kyats today, an amount equivalent to the monthly salary of entry level public servants. The humanitarian consequences stemming from the dying bamboo and exacerbated by conditions imposed by the regime are enormous, and there are clear indications that unless urgent action is taken to address the crisis, the situation could soon turn into a large-scale catastrophe affecting all parts of Chin State. The hardest hit areas are in the southern townships of Matupi and Paletwa where bamboo grows heavily, but reports suggest that severe food shortages are a state-wide phenomenon with many villages in the northern townships of Tonzang and Thantlang, for example, having already run out of food supplies. Based on the latest field surveys conducted in the affected areas, Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) estimates that as many as 200 villages may be directly affected by severe food shortages associated with the bamboo flowering, and no less than 100, 000 people or 20 percent of the entire population of Chin State may be in need of immediate food aid.3 Food scarcity is more severe in remote areas, where families are being reduced to one meal a day or have nothing left to eat at all. CHRO recently visited four border villages in India’s Mizoram State where it found 93 families from 22 villages in Paletwa Township, Chin State who fled across the border in search of food. To date, Burma’s State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) has done nothing positive to counter the food scarcity, nor has the SPDC provided any kind of help to communities affected by the food crisis. Repeated requests by affected communities for food aid were denied, even as 100,000 metric tonnes of rice was exported to Sri Lanka.4 Rather, Burma Army soldiers have seized food aid donated by private donors and church groups.5 In contrast to the situation in Burma, India’s Mizoram and Manipur States, both adjacent to Chin State, are facing a similar food crisis related to the bamboo flowering, and have received millions of dollars in aid from the central government as well as international aid agencies, including USAID of the United States government, to support emergency programs to combat and manage the food crisis.6 In early May, when Cyclone Nargis ripped through lower Burma and the Irrawaddy delta destroying entire regions of land and leaving thousands homeless, hungry, and helpless, the regime clearly demonstrated their complete indifference to the plight of the Burmese people. In response to this natural disaster, they did shamefully little to ease the suffering of the victims and much to hamper relief efforts. As a result, the people of Burma paid a heavy price in the loss of life and continue to struggle under a regime that fails to protect or provide for its people. As another natural disaster unfolds in western Burma without hope of internal protections or provisions, the Chin people, like the cyclone victims, will be sure to pay a heavy toll unless action is taken immediately. The critical point for action is now."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO)
Format/size: pdf (731K, 640K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.chro.ca/publications/special-reports.html
Date of entry/update: 09 July 2008


Title: Food Shortages in Chin State Bamboo flowers bring starvation, devastation and suffering to Chin Land
Description/subject: Chin Human Rights Organization believes that at least 120 Chin villages along the Burma India and Bangladesh border approximately 50,000 people or roughly ten percent of the entire population of Chin State may be directly affected by the ongoing famine.
Author/creator: Naw Cha Mu
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Issues
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 20 October 2010