The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) had delivered emergency food to the strife-torn Paletwa township in Chin State of Myanmar, whose residents have faced a food shortage since January due to fighting between government forces and the Arakan Army (AA).
The food arrived in Paletwa on May 2, the WFP said in a statement.
“Some 3700 conflict-affected people will receive food assistance …starting today (May 3),” the statement said. “Families were forced to skip meals and forage wild plants for food. Some resorted to selling or eating their livestock, a coping strategy that could hurt longer-term agricultural productivity and food security.”
The UN aid was the latest emergency assistance to reach Paletwa since all access to the area was cut off in late January by intense fighting between the AA and Tatmadaw (military).
Last week, 830 sacks of rice and other staples were delivered to Paletwa by several trucks under heavy military guard using a new road built by the military.
U Soe Htet, state minister for Development Affairs, said the government is arranging the delivery of another 5000 sacks of rice to Paletwa in preparation for the rainy season, as the new road may become impassable.
The WFP statement said the delivery of the aid was hampered by an attack on the five-truck convoy that wounded one worker.
“On April 29, the trucks carrying the food aid was fired on by unidentified gunmen while en route to Paletwa,” it said. “One convoy worker sustained a minor injury and three trucks were damaged.”
“Despite this, the convoy was able to continue its journey,” it said. “When the food reached a river crossing near Paletwa, the WFP shipped it by boat to its final destination.”
In April, with the support of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement and
the Chin government, the WFP delivered food and kitchen utensils to 2600 people who had fled fighting in nearby Samee town.
The AA, comprised mainly of ethnic Rakhine people, has been fighting for autonomy from the central government since 2009.