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Protests against inadequate rehousing

Mandalay (UCAN): Around 1,000 people, including Christian clergy, joined protests on January 5 and 6 in Hakha, the capital of Myanmar’s impoverished Chin state, by people angry at local government plans to re-house them in an area that lacks adequate roads and drainage.

Reverend Lai Cung, a protest leader from the Hakha Khuahlul Baptist Church. Said, “We are going to continue our protests if the local government doesn’t respond to our demands.” 

Flash floods and landslides in July and August 2015 destroyed hundreds of houses and displaced thousands of ethnic Chin in the Christian majority province. At least 900 households and six Christian churches were completely or partially destroyed in the Hakha area, where around 50,000 inhabitants reside. The Seventh-day Adventists reported that 32 of their churches had been damaged.

Some 2,000 people still remain in relief camps and in the homes of relatives, reliant on the United Nations and voluntary groups for aid, food and other essential items.

“Displaced people have no problem with food rations but they want to get out from relief camps and start living in the new relocation area with a proper allocation of land, roads and drainage systems,” Reverend Tluang Ceu, secretary of the Hakha Rescue Committee, explained to UCA News.

 “We are still looking for new lands to on which to build churches to replace those which were the worst hit by landslides. Other churches that were partially destroyed can’t be repaired yet,” Reverend Lai said.

Geological surveys found that several areas in the Hakha area were unsuitable for continued habitation with a high-risk for future landslides.

A mountainous area, Chin state is one of Myanmar’s least developed regions with its 73 per cent poverty rate ranking as the highest in the country.

Across Myanmar, at least 106 people died and more than 1.3 million people were critically affected by floods and landslides during July and August 2015. The United Nations said that almost 300,000 households have been or remain displaced.


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