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5 February 2009

[...] Northern Rakhine state is one of the poorest and most isolated in Burma. But the burdens imposed on the Rohingya [people] by Burma's military rulers make their situation a whole lot worse than other people living in the area. "Economic hardship and chronic poverty prevents many thousands of people in north Rakhine state from gaining food security," says Chris Kaye, the country director for the UN's World Food Programme who visited there two months ago. "Many do not have land rights or access to farmland to grow food, and the restrictions and limitations on the movement of people, goods and commodities places additional stress on people's livelihood opportunities."


3 February 2009

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. "The rat infestation has made this acute in several areas and this acute situation remains, particularly among communities in Madupi and Paletwa [townships]," he said. According to WFP, farmers are now struggling to meet day-to-day food needs and resorting to edibles gathered from the forests.


2 February 2009

The United Nations said last week there was a “critical need” for funding to help rebuild the lives of millions of people in the agriculture sector whose livelihoods were shattered when cyclone Nargis battered the Ayeyarwady delta last May. A United Nations statement issued after a meeting of international donors in Yangon last Thursday said only US$16.3 million had been provided out of $58.4 million sought for the sector under a UN Revised Appeal for funding made last July. [...] It follows a UN report issued a day earlier that said food security was still a major concern in the delta, Myanmar’s main rice-producing region. The report by the World Food Program and Food and Agriculture Organisation said rice production in cyclone-affected areas of the delta had fallen to half last year’s output.


31 January 2009

BARE backs striped with the scabbed welts of savage beatings; a youngster sobbing in a hospital bed with cotton wool padded to burns on his thigh; skeletally thin men on a wooden boat, half-filled with seawater, some so weak they can hardly clamber aboard a rescueship. These are the Burmese Rohingya, pictured in photographs that have shocked the world. Human-rights groups now say hundreds of these stateless and desperate people are feared drowned, after the Burmese military beat many of them, and the Thai military detained hundreds of others, later pushing their rickety boats back out into international waters allegedly with no engines and inadequate food and water. [...] Rohingya in Burma are used as forced labour and denied ordinary human rights. Meanwhile, the World Food Program this week warned that six million Burmese now need food aid, and pointed to the districts along Burma's western border, including Arakan, where access is restricted and the distribution of aid consequently limited.


28 January 2009

The US group Human Rights Watch has called for better protection of the Chins, one of Burma's least known and most persecuted minorities. Ill-treatment of many ethnic minorities by the Burmese military has been extensively documented by international human rights groups. But Human Rights Watch say there has been little attention given to the plight of the Chins. [...] Their plight is compounded by acute food shortages - the UN's World Food Programme estimates that food consumption in Chin state is the lowest in Burma.


28 January 2009

Myanmar faces food shortages in many parts of the country, largely because of last year's cyclone and a rat infestation that destroyed crops, according to a U.N. report released Wednesday. About 185,000 tons of emergency food aid will be needed this year throughout the impoverished country, said the report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program. [...] "Access to food remains the critical challenge for the poorest people and for vulnerable populations in remote areas of Myanmar," said Chris Kaye, WFP's representative for Myanmar. "For many of those affected by Cyclone Nargis, who are engaged in rebuilding their lives and livelihoods, the limited delta harvest means they will continue to rely on assistance to meet their food needs."


28 January 2009

The United Nations has warned of acute food shortages in parts of Burma, despite a better than expected rice harvest over the past year. Its World Food Programme has issued a report warning that six million people in Burma are now in need of food aid. They include a million in the Irrawaddy Delta, hit by Cyclone Nargis last year. But the WFP says it cannot get enough food aid to the western Rohingya and Chin areas, because of restrictions imposed by the military government. The United Nations has warned of acute food shortages in parts of Burma, despite a better than expected rice harvest over the past year. Its World Food Programme has issued a report warning that six million people in Burma are now in need of food aid. They include a million in the Irrawaddy Delta, hit by Cyclone Nargis last year. But the WFP says it cannot get enough food aid to the western Rohingya and Chin areas, because of restrictions imposed by the military government.

Food Security Analysis
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.