Junta blockade of several key roads is taking a toll on residents of Rakhine State

Life has become increasingly difficult for many residents of Rakhine State as Myanmar’s military regime blocks major roads and waterways which continue, in some cases for months.

The army has restricted access to the Ponnagyun-Rathedaung, Agnumaw-Maungdaw and Yaychanbyin-Agnumaw roads, as well as the Paletwa-Kyauktaw waterway.

The Ponnagyun-Rathedaung road was blocked after a junta soldier was arrested in Ponnagyun township on June 16. The regime also suspended the Shwe Pyi Tan express ferry service on Sept. 15, creating significant inconvenience for residents, Rathedaung resident Ko San Htone said.

“We have a lot of difficulties because land and sea routes are inaccessible,” he said. “Food prices have skyrocketed in Rathedaung. I was unable to provide for my family’s health and education needs. You can see what is happening in the country. I dare not think of the possibility of worse things we could face.

Food prices have soared in Paletwa, Chin state, since the military regime last month blocked the waterways between Paletwa and Kyauktaw in neighboring Rakhine state, on which Paletwa heavily depends for the supply of food and other goods.

“It has become more and more difficult to buy food,” said a resident of Paletwa. “A bag of raw rice now sells for more than K70,000 in the market. A bag of Paw Hsan Hmwe sells for over 100,000K, and you can only buy three eggs with 1,000K and a liter of cooking oil with 6,000K. I have never seen such high food prices of my life in Paletwa.

Myanmar’s military regime blocked the Agnumaw-Maungdaw and Yaychanbyin-Agnumaw roads following fighting between the army and the Arakan Army (AA) near Cheinkhali and Koetankauk villages in Rathedaung township on 13 august. The regime also suspended Shwe Pyi Tan express ferry services in September. 15.

“Not to mention health and education [concerns], we even struggle to feed ourselves,” said the village administrator of Thit Tone Nar Kwa Sone village in northern Maungdaw township. “We are going to be hungry. We have run out of food we have since August 13th. We share food with each other, and we’re all almost out of food now.

The administrator called on the military regime to reopen the roads, considering that the local population is starving.

“The food mainly comes from Maungdaw town. We call for the reopening of the road for food supply. Even though we are not allowed to transport rice with vehicles, it wouldn’t be so bad if we could transport rice with motorbikes,” he said.

A series of clashes between the Myanmar army and the Rakhine army have been reported in Rakhine State since August, with thousands of people displaced by renewed hostilities and military tensions that continue to s ‘intensify.

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