Myanmar Rat Infestation Causing Food Crisis: NGO

Published on 12 January 2009

Tens of thousands of people in remote northwestern Myanmar faced a food crisis after their farmlands were destroyed by a rat infestation, a non-governmental organization said Monday. The infestation erupted two years ago in Chin state, which borders Bangladesh and India, and some residents were now receiving rice handouts, said Joseph Win Hlaing Oo, director of the Country Agency for Rural Development. "We estimate that some 70,000 people in Chin State have been suffering from a food crisis since two years ago because of rat infestation and drought," he told AFP. [...] A separate report by the UN World Food Program said that 75 percent of crops in the area had been destroyed by rats and 30 percent of villagers surveyed had been forced by the rodents to leave their fields. "Farmers are reported to be struggling to meet day-to-day food needs, resorting to edibles gathered from the forests," the report said, adding that many people were migrating to border areas in India.

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Agence France Presse (AFP)