8000 people face food shortages in Da Let, Ann Township

Saung Zar Kyi

Narinjara News, 30  June 2020

Around 8,000 ethnic Rakhine and Chin in Da Let, Ann township are facing food shortages and lack basic necessities as supplies have been blocked and  shipments have not received authorisation.

Ko Myo Lwin who works in civil society in Ann township spoke about the situation. “The entire village tract is blocked off. The road is shut off from Kazu Kaing to Ann town.  The river route to Kan Taung Gyi crosses Da Lat Chaung.  These are the only two ways of getting in and both routes have been shut. They have shut it to stop food being transported in,” he told Narinjara.

He said that the road and water routes accessing the 48 villages in Da Let village tract have been blocked by the Tatmadaw due to military security.

Of the 8,000 people, approximately 6,000 are ethnic Chin with the remainder being ethnic Rakhine. 

Around three thousand people have already left due to shortages of food and other essentials, leaving their homes to find shelter in Ann town, Kan Taung Gyi, Kazu Kaing village tract and Magway region.

“They sometimes pretend like they’re going to open up the road to Da Lat, but its just for show. This is unacceptable. This is the same as putting people’s lives at risk” Ko Myo Lwin said.

Villagers are occasionally able to make secret trips to Kan Taung Gyi by boat to purchase rice to be shared out on return. However if Tatmadaw soldiers see the boats they will shoot at them, arrest those onboard, and confiscate the supplies, he continued.

Ma Aye Aye Maw who volunteers and helps the IDPs said “a sack of rice normally costs 20,000 kyat, but we have to pay 40,000.  We share it out household by household to the villagers who are trapped.  We have to smuggle it in by boat.  Motorboats a noisy so we have to row the boat” she told Narinjara.

Over 11,000 people populate the 48 villages in Da Lat village tract.  Since November 2019 road and water routes have been shut and the current population now stands at around 8,000.

According to the Rakhine Ethnic Congress, as of June 8 there are 156,456 people displaced due to conflict.