Monday, September 12, 2011

Model Villagers Resettled from the Burma Proper Area Suffer Famine

Buthedaung: Many villagers who have been brought from the Burma Proper area and resettled in model villages established by Burmese authorities in the border areas of western Burma’s Arakan State are suffering from famine.

Buthedaung-watch-towerWatch tower in Buthedaung, Arakan.
A Buddhist monk from the area told Narinjara that the model village established near Nyaungchaung village in southern Buthidaung Township has been suffering the worst from the effects of hunger.

“There were 180 families and 180 houses in the village when the authorities have brought and resettled them in the village. Now 30 families have already fled from the village because they had no jobs with which to earn their living. About 60 families among the remaining 150 families have had nothing to eat for almost every day while the rest have had to skip their regular meals quite often”, said the monk.

The monk said that the villagers have to live on whatever food they can get for their meals and have been taking even dead animals such as dogs and cattles from the nearby Muslim villages to eat for their survival.

“They will not care that it is an already dead or rotten animal, instead they will rush to take it and cut and cook for their meals. Last August 29th, they found a dead elephant that was already rotten, and they took flesh of the beast for their meals and only the bones are left now”, said the monk.

The village is known as Shwe Model Village and the families were brought to the village from Rangoon in May 2010. The villagers have been facing famines since the authorities stopped giving supporting assistance to them for their living.

“They are unfamiliar to the area and have language problems as well as difficulty earning their livings. So they have sold everything such as tractors, trishaws and sewing machines that were gifted by the authorities. They have nothing now and are facing famine”, said the monk.

A Muslim villager living nearby a model village in the area also confirmed that most of the model villagers are suffering from famine.

“They are in great trouble now and there are many who are unable to eat their regular meals. In some villages, the whole village is suffering from famine because the rainy season makes it much more difficult for them to earn their living by cutting and selling fire-wood and bamboo from nearby jungles. Now their suffering is also affecting our native villages because they are stealing whatever they can get from our villages”, said the Muslim villager.

The sources said the authorities are still neglecting to investigate the situations of the people, and to extend necessary relief or assistance to the people they brought and resettled in the model villages in the border areas.

The Burmese military regime has started establishing model villages and resettling homeless people from the Burma proper area in many areas where the native Arakanese villages had been demolished during the Buddhist-Muslim riots, with the aim of balancing the demography of Buddhists and Muslims in the area.

There are now 50 model villages already established in the area and over 20,000 peoples from the Burma proper area are already resettled, but most of them are still unfamiliar to the nature of the area and have been facing difficulties in surviving.
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