Narinjara News


Maungdaw, 7 May 2005



Water crisis in western border area of Burma


A number of villages in the north of Maungdaw Township have been facing a water shortage since the beginning of May, reports a villager who has been transporting water from Bangladesh to Burma via a small boat on the Naf River.


"The water is not for my family, it is for the Nasaka camp which is located at Ngakhura village," he said.


The water crisis has not only affected the local people but also officials from many government departments.


Since the crisis began, Burmese officials have been using water from the Bangladesh side.  Most machine boats are forced to ferry water from Bangladesh for the officials.


"We have to bring back at least 50 gallons for Nasaka Regional Camp no 5, in Ngakhura village, whenever we come to Bangladesh for our business," Said one boat owner.


But, the authorities have made no arrangements for the public to receive water.  Local people living in the villages of Ngakhura, Krann Byin, Dadon Kya, and Wrat Nyo Daung are suffering the most from water shortages.


According to local people, most villagers in the area are using water from their lakes, but the water levels have dropped so severely it is almost impossible to fetch water with a pot.  Furthermore, there are no hand-propelled tube wells in any of the villages except in Krann Byin, where one well exists, but is insufficient to provide for everyone.


It was learnt that a small amount of local people are now suffering from diarrhea, due to the shortage of drinking water.  People are anxious about the disease spreading.


If the rains do not come early this year, people living along the border will suffer severely under the water shortage.


The government does not have any plans to install hand-propelled tube wells in the rural areas of Arakan state.  Thus, many rural areas in the state will have to continue suffering a water crisis every year when the summer comes.#



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