Tuesday, May 21st 2024

Sittwe residents, fled or staying, face livelihood difficulties

Hnin Nwe Ni, Narinjara News, 10 May 2024


The residents of Sittwe, capital of Rakhine State, are currently facing livelihood difficulties without differences if they fled the conflict or stayed in the township.


A woman who fled to Pauktaw township due to fear of fighting in Sittwe said that they left their place on 20 February and now face financial crisis.


“Staying with relatives, I've had to search for food stuff in the mountains. I can't even afford a cup of tea. When I asked my son for money, he himself was struggling. I don't know when the war will be over and  I can return home,” she added.


Many Sittwe residents left their residences and business units to stay in Yangon or liberated Rakhine areas like Pauktaw, Ponnagyun, Rathedaung, Kyauktaw, Mrauk-U and Minbya.


"I came to Yangon as there wasn't a clear way to escape. As time passed, I ran out of money. Some are staying with others, while some are renting houses. I left Sittwe due to the reports of potential conflicts. Now livelihoods become difficult for us. I find it difficult to decide whether to return home or stay here," said another woman.


Due to financial constraints, many families remain in Sittwe. Currently the capital has a lesser number of residents and Sittwe looks  like a deserted place.


"Even though there's no war, Sittwe  becomes deserted. A night time silence is observed everywhere in the capital,” said a resident.


He added that those who remain in Sittwe also  face hardships due to lack of jobs. Moreover the price rises of essential commodities have made their life miserable.


"Both those who fled and those who remain face livelihood difficulties. The current situation feels like a war but without any battle,” he added.


Meanwhile, many abandoned houses  in Sittwe were demolished and even sold by the junta forces. The residents inform that essential items like rice, oil, salt, charcoal, electric fans, refrigerators, bicycles, motorcycles, etc are being stolen by miscreants.


Those residents, who did not flee Sittwe, face artillery shell firing by junta battalions and  navy personnel using  jet planes, helicopters and drones. Moreover, the junta soldiers continue night patrolling by military vehicles.

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