Khaunglanphu’s remote villages confront dire conditions

San Lat / May 22, 2020

Transporting goods with pack mules in Khaunglanphu Township / Marphang Sar Aung

Extremely faraway villages along the China-Burma border in Khaunglanphu township of northern Kachin State faced a shortage of food and other necessity items due to China shut down its border for COVID-19 lock down.

Over ten thousand people from Shinghkawng, Zhang Yaw, Zi Htang and Shi Lang villages are facing food shortage because they can’t go to buy groceries in China, according to the villagers. All the villages along the Chinese border mostly rely on their daily supply from China due to the inaccessible road to towns in Burma side. Some villages located up to 80 miles from Khaunglanphu, a main town in the Khaunglanphu township.

Since China shut down its border last month, residents of those villages were unable to cross the border and collect their food supply, Marphang Sar Aung from Khaunglanphu town told The Kachin Post. People from those villages ravel by foot through rugged mountains and transport goods with the packed mules.

Another Khaunglanphu resident Zaning Hpe Ram worries that the transporting goods with the packed mules even more dangerous passing through the rugged mountain trails during the monsoon season, which will be commenced in June. The remote villages have very limited numbers of agriculture land due to the high altitude location. Those fields barely provide enough food to the villagers, Hpe Ram said.

The Spirit of Brotherhood Mission (SBM), a non-profit Off-Road 4×4 truck hobbyist’s organization, is currently accepting donations and volunteers to help provide the food and necessity items for the remote villages in Khaunglanphu township. SBM is requesting interested donors to give the basic necessity food items and the cash. The group said that the cost of transporting a 40 kg bag of rice is up to $100, five times of the price in Myitkyina.

SBM also mentioned that it take up to 15 days to travel to Zidam village near Khaunglanphu from the Kachin State capital Myitkyina. Then the goods will be transported with packed mules to the targeted villages as there is no accessible road to reach those locations. Most local people travels on foot through rugged mountain trails.

The remote villages along the Chinese border are located near the China-Burma border demarcation monument number 30, 31, 35 and 41, also know as Shinghkawng, Amat Pur, Alan and Mahkum Kan border pass respectively. Khaunglanphu town is situated 128 miles northeast of the Kachin State capital Myitkyina.