Myo Thiri Kyaw | DMG
7 March, Ann

More than 10,000 people from 38 villages are facing food shortages due to a prohibition on carrying provisions into Dalet village-tract in Ann Township, Arakan State, according to residents.

Residents of the village-tract are ethnically about 30% Arakanese and about 70% Chin.

Although residents tried to transport foodstuffs into the village-tract by showing legitimizing documentation to authorities at the regional border gates, they were only allowed to carry enough food for one meal past the gates, U Tin Oo in Dalet Shan Gone village told DMG.

“If we are banned from carrying in food, we will face starvation. No one can sell rice even if we would pay K50,000 [$35] for a bag of rice,” he said.

Residents of Dalet village-tract had previously purchased food from towns in Minbya, Mrauk-U and Myebon townships.

Shortages have been a concern since the Tatmadaw instituted its restrictions on food transport on February 15, said Ko Myo Lwin, chair of Ann Regional China Pipeline Watch.

“Firstly, we are allowed to carry rice [unrestricted]. Now, authorities allow carrying a basket of rice if we file an appeal to carry rice. And, it [approval] is not granted to all applicants. How is it that we are struggling to get our staple food?” Ko Myo Lwin said.

Arakan State MP U Khin Maung Htay for Ann Township said road blockades in the area were set up because of artillery shelling. The lawmaker said that he planned to request that the ban be lifted after artillery fire ceased in the affected area.

DMG phoned Colonel Win Zaw Oo, spokesperson for the Tatmadaw’s Western Command, to seek comment on the situation in Ann Township, but he could not be reached.

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