Four Months on, Hakha Landslide Victims Want Out of Relief Camps

By Nang Seng Nom 7 January 2016

RANGOON — Some 1,300 landslide victims sheltering at relief camps in the Chin State capital Hakha staged protest marches on Tuesday and Wednesday, calling on the government to provide them with land on which to live after they were displaced amid widespread flooding last year.

Heavy rains in July and August triggered severe landslides in Hakha and elsewhere in Chin State that forced thousands of locals from their homes.

Tin Pan, one of the victims taking refuge at a relief camp, told The Irrawaddy that those still displaced by the landslides were asking the Chin State government to allocate land plots to them as soon as possible, especially before yet another monsoon season arrives in a few months’ time.

“We’ve asked the [Chin State] government to give us lands so that we can live in our own houses, whether they’re huts or something else,” said Tin Pan.

The landslide victims have also demanded that the state government build proper streets and drainage systems in newly established wards.

Kyun Khem, an Upper House lawmaker from Chin State whose constituency covers part of Hakha Township, proposed on Wednesday that a model village be built in neighboring Falam Township, in order to offer greater assistance to landslide victims. The proposal, however, was rejected.

More than 600 houses were destroyed or damaged by landslides across a number of wards in Hakha Township, most in the old Hakha town area.

A geological survey conducted in the aftermath of last year’s devastating floods found that several areas in the township were not suitable for continued habitation, having been deemed at high-risk for future landslides. Talk has since turned to the large-scale relocation of the state capital’s population.