For immediate release:
Canadian Friends of Burma
100,000 People Facing Famine On Western Burma
Ottawa (July 21, 08) – Approximately 100,000 people in Chin State of Burma that borders with India are facing a serious food crisis due to the mass flowering of bamboo and the subsequent explosion of rat population that destroy basic crops and paddy fields in the area. Chin State covers 13,907 square kilometres and roughly one fifth of that area is covered with bamboo.
A advocacy team consists of leading Chin activists is now in Ottawa to draw attention from Canadian policy-makers, civil society organizations and public on the unusual natural phenomenon that occurs every 50 years in Chin State of Burma and the bordering Mizoram State in India. There is a traditional saying “When the bamboo flowers, famine, death and destruction will soon follow.” In 1959, bamboo flowering in Mizoram State led to one of the most powerful insurgencies against the Indian Union government that lasted two decades.
“The situation is at a critical point,” said Salai Bawi Lian Mang, the head of Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO), which is closely monitoring the situation. “The people of Chin State are on the brink of starvation.” he added.
Salai Victor Lian, a prominent Chin political figure working with Burma’s Ethnic Nationalities Council (ENC) pointed out, “The people in the western border of Burma had little assistance from international community while Eastern border of Burma have been enjoying International supports.” Before his arrival in Ottawa two weeks ago, he was in the United Kingdom, meeting with ministers and senior government officials.
Recently, Chin activists in India formed Chin Famine Emergency Relief Committee and started to take necessary action to help the people in Chin State. Meanwhile, well known singers including Sung Tin Par from Burma and Mizoram State are performing a series of music concerts in three Southeast Asian countries – Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore to raise funds for famine stricken people in Chin state.
The Canadian Friends of Burma (CFOB), the national organization working for Burma, is also working with CHRO to highlight the situation in Canada. For more info, please contact Salai Victor Lian at 613-796-9514 or office of Canadian Friends of Burma at 613-237-8056
To find out more information on the crisis, please see http://www.chinrelief.org/