Canadians come to 'rescue' famine-hit Mizos

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Aizawl, Feb 28 (UNI) Canada-based Global Youth Network has arrived in Mizoram to 'rescue' famine-stricken farmers.

''For a real aid worker, it's normal. But, for an amateur, it's really grim,'' the Network's Mizoram project director Tim Morgan said on the actual situation in rural Mizoram, particularly the southern parts.

Morgan's team is currently distributing aid to the southernmost parts of Mizoram bordering Myanmar and Bangladesh.

''We have distributed 3,500 kgs of rice and huge packages of dried food by boat to three villages of about 2000 families. We are donating more food next week,'' Morgan said today.

The villagers have survived for four months on wild yams and green vegetables in the jungles. They are travelling upward of seven hours to find food in the jungles. Their children don't want to eat yams anymore, he said.

''There is no free food from the government. However, after we distributed food in a village, they (the officials) distributed some for the first time. The low level officials and workers are hiding the facts from their bosses. Our presence here is really a wake-up call to the state government,'' Morgan pointed out.

He said a packet weighing one kg of dehydrated vegetable soup mix can feed about 100 people for a day. The first consignment is worth 562,000 meals. However, he alleged that the approval for transportation of the food to Mizoram is pending from the central customs department.

Morgan also informed that he had had the National Geographic interview him about Mautam (bamboo flowering famine) and its disastrous impact in Mizoram.

If this interview makes it to the television, more help will come from abroad.

The southern parts of Mizoram whose inhabitants are minority tribes of Chakmas, Mara and Lai, have been seen to be the hardest hit by the Mautam famine.

Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) minister Mani Shankar Aiyar was also shocked to see that some Indian citizens in this remotest part of the country have hardly any food to eat in the 21st century. The Union minister visited this part of Mizoram a few weeks back.

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