Sunday, July 21st 2024

Sittwe witnesses increasing numbers of starving residents, beggars

Hnin Nwe Ni, Narinjara News, 25 June 2024

The military regime claimed that 39,898 bags of rice were dispatched to Sittwe on 17 June for the rehabilitation of Arakan State. But in reality, the Sittwe residents are suffering from starvation and many beggars are now seen wandering various areas, said local  residents.

"They asked me for a can of rice or maybe half a can. I don't know which villages they came from. I gave as much as I could. They came with children. They talked about their difficulties,” said a female resident of Sittwe.


According to the military-owned newspapers, the regime sent 39,898 24-pyi bags of rice from the social welfare relief & resettlement ministry for the rehabilitation program in Arakan State. A large volume of  solid fuel and relief materials were ordered by the Arakan State government totalling 2,038.44 tons were transported by vessels from Yangon to Sittwe on 17 June.


“This is propaganda by the military junta. It is an act of deceiving the people of Myanmar. The military junta is spreading propaganda through their own media outlets to make people believe that they are supporting the Arakanese people. But on the ground, the poor families are starving. They have received no assistance,” said a Sittwe politician.

He also mentioned that in Sittwe, the capital of Arakan State under the military regime,  people are starving due to lack of employment opportunities and a number of individuals are wandering and begging for food items.


Most of the town's population fled due to fears of potential fighting, resulting in the closure of the Myoma market, stores, restaurants, shops in wards and private offices and thus the entire economic structure collapsed.


"Even if I spend all day searching for work on my bicycle, there is  no job available. If I try to work as a labourer, there is no possibility as the markets are closed now. The Sittwe residents are already struggling even without a conflict,”  said another resident.


A woman informed  that due to livelihood crises, some residents are demolishing uninhabited houses and selling them as firewood.


"When they're hungry, some may resort to begging while others will go for stealing.  They can't bear hunger any more and they have children to feed. They also cut down trees for selling," added the woman resident.

The junta forces have imposed strict prohibitions on residents from fleeing Sittwe to other Arakanese townships. As a result, there remains  no job available for them and thus they are facing severe difficulties.

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