The people dwelling in bamboo covered
This bamboo flowering and dying, locally known as Mautam or Mawtah, has begun in 2007 in some regions of Mizoram (India) and Chin State (Myanmar) which badly caused great famine and force the victims suffering of food shortage in this year 2008. All bamboo jungle has been withered where bamboo flowering occurred last year in 2007. Again in this year 2008, bamboo flowering is still happening in remaining parts of Chin State, predicting terrible famine that the people of these regions tremble and fear to face in the year to come. Rats and birds picked and ate up all the seeds by sowing time (April and May 2008) that resulted crops growing very scarce. The crops have been started snipping by the rodents from now. . Not only rice but also other agricultural products such as maize, cucumber, beans, and pumpkins have been starting eaten away by rats. The saying of forefathers, “The tragedy event of Bamboo Flowering Famine normally lasts from three to five years,” is practically comes true today. Many cultivators have forsaken their jhums in lack of hope. Last year from September, huge number of rat population were feasting on the bamboo seeds and multiplied themselves in terms of ten thousands in a year and once, the bamboo seeds were no longer available to them that they ate away and finished away all agricultural products over night or in a day, migrating from place to place throughout the hill land in thousands and thousands number. Henceforth, the severe starvation is unavoidable circumstance this year and the years to come.
Response to the Attack of the Rodents:
Response to the Attack of the Rodents:
Last year in 2007 the destruction of crops by the rodents happened from the month of September when the time of harvest was near. All the crops in a field had been devoured by a night. This year in 2008, it is wonderful that the great attack has been started from time of growing seeds. Now the rodents are gnawing and destructing all food crops by days and nights. Not only swarms of rats, but also porcupines and parrots invade the food cops very badly. The people also are trying to prevent by means of catapult even at night time that they could kill hundreds in number. They make traps for catching and killing porcupines. “There set an order of Village Peace and Development Council to the entire male in the village to try to kill the rats in their respective field. I think we have already killed more than ten thousand of rats in the field, but the number of rat seems to increase more and more,” said ThlaCung of La-U village. At day time, all encaged protecting from flights of parrots. The report said that many households had left their cultivation which had been devoured by the rodents. It is like a fight with the spirit that we the human being will never win, the spirit of famine how awful it will overwhelm for months and years.
Current Situation of Famine Affected Area:
It might be wonderful to any interested one how the victims are keeping their livelihood till today though the Data Information showed food grains they reaped to be enough only for short period. The question had also been raised everywhere by the loved ones. Livelihood, especially in most affected area from November 2007 till now is summed up as below mentioned in general:
1. November 2007 - January/February 2008 --------------- Rice/ Maize left by rodents.
2. February/March - May/June 2008 -------------- Tung/Bako (a tree) and Yams
3. June/July onwards ------------------------------------- Natural green leaves, Roots of
Bananas and leaves of crops
4. “ “ “ ----------------------------------- Few of food relief (rice)
received from Chin Communities abroad
through CFERC, mixed with green leaves.
The Consequences of Famine:
The consequences of the famine are expected to have widespread and long-term affects on more people of
Route Requested for sending Famine Relief Aid:
Bamboo Flowering Famine mostly affected along the western region of
Therefore, on behalf of all famine victims per preference of themselves, special request is made to the individual, groups, NGOs (National/International) and governments to offer Relief Aid through Cross-Border System to the suffering Chin people.
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By Salai Chinzah
Chairman, CHRC and CNC