By SAW YAN NAING
The Irrawaddy News
More than 30 children have died in a famine in Chin state, western Burma, according to the Chin National Council, an exile rights group.
The famine was caused by a plague of rats, which ate rice stocks in many of the state’s villages.
Another Chin group, the Chin Human Rights Organization, said the famine had hit about 20 percent of the state’s population, or at least 100,000 people.
“They have no food,” said Lian H Sakhong, a leader of the Chin Humanitarian and Relief Committee. “Unless we provide sufficient relief soon, the situation will become worse.”
He pleaded with donors to contact the Chin Humanitarian and Relief Committee so that relief can be rushed to the stricken areas.
The famine occurs about every 50 years when the flowering of a native species of bamboo gives rise to an explosion in the rat population. The International Rice Research Institute has warned of “widespread food shortages” because of the crisis.