Thursday, September 11, 2008
Silver Spring, Maryland--In response to recent rice shortages in India's northeastern state of Mizoram, where about 1 million people are facing famine after a plague of rats decimated the region's rice crops, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) has launched MIZOFAM, an 11-month emergency food project to assist 25,000 highly vulnerable people.
MIZOFAM, a project worth $1,171,200 funded by the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) through ADRA Germany, has partnered with the government of Mizoram to conduct training in capacity building and disaster preparedness and response. The initiative is implemented during six community festival days at six different locations where disaster risk reduction topics are discussed through various media outlets, competitions, children's games, posters, and plays. MIZOFAM, which encourages the involvement of community members and Village Disaster Committees (VDC), also provides educational materials for each village.
This latest famine has been worsened by the fact that most croplands in Mizoram, a hilly state in North East India that lies alongside Myanmar's western border, are cultivated by poor subsistence farmers who live off small, temporary plots. During the crisis, they must often forage in the surrounding forests for wild berries, yams, and roots, in order to meet their daily dietary needs. However, many families can only afford one meal per day.
"The MIZOFAM project ensures that the target community has an increased resiliency to the impact of food shortages in the future," said Paulo Lopes, country director for ADRA India.
To aid farmers and their families through this food crisis, ADRA has partnered with VDCs, distributing food and seeds to 45 villages and providing training on effective planting methods. A 'cash-for-work' program is available for villagers participating in project implementation.
This phenomenon, known in the local Mizo language as "mautam" or bamboo death, occurs every 48 years and culminates in the flowering, and then death of large amounts of bamboo, triggering a massive invasion of rats that feed on the flowers and newly-produced bamboo seeds, causing, consequently, a sudden boom in the rat population. This rapid increase in rodents has resulted in damages to more than 90 percent of rice paddies and other crops in the Mizoram region.
ADRA India was officially registered in 1992. Its current portfolios are Economic Development, Vocational Training, Water and Sanitation, Disaster Response, Health Care, and Local Infrastructure.
ADRA is a non-governmental organization present in 125 countries providing sustainable community development and disaster relief without regard to political or religiousassociation, age, gender, race, or ethnicity.
Author: Nadia McGill
Media Contact: John Torres
Senior Public Relations Manager
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, MD 20904
What about reaching out to Manipur also? Try mautaam.org