Myanmar to seek more emergency rice aid from ASEAN


Myanmar is considering seeking more assistance from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) emergency rice reserve programme due to dwindling supply of the country’s staple grain amid the onslaught of floods, U Myo Tint Tun, deputy permanent secretary from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation said on Monday.

“We will have to consider asking for more (aid). But we must first check whether it is possible or not. There are many specifications for natural disasters. Not all are available whenever you ask,” he told The Myanmar Times.

During the floods in 2015, the government sought the assistance from the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve Programme and Japan and South Korea provided 1000 tonnes of rice as emergency supply.

“Some of the aid had been distributed and some are carried over (and remains in stock),” he explained.

U Myo Tint Tun said those carried-over rice are considered reserve and needs clearance from the regional sub-grouping if it would be distributed locally.

“As it differs from the original purpose, we can’t give as we wish. We will have to submit request to the ASEAN. We will ask if they agree to our plan to distribute those rice to recent victims. If they agree, we can give,” he explained.

Out of the 1000-tonne rice aid from ASEAN, 267 tonnes went to the victims in the northern |Rakhine conflict; 311.477 tonnes to refugees displaced by fighting in 14 townships in Kachin State; and 233 tonnes to flood victims in Kachin, Mon states and Magwe Region.

Moreover, it will provide 136 tonnes of rice to recent flood victims this year in Mon, Kayin states and Bago region.

“We have already supplied about 50 tonnes in Bago. More supplies are to be made in coming days in Mon and Kayin,” U Myo Tint Tun said.

He added that only 50 tonnes is left in the ASEAN emergency rice aid.


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