Starving in Burma's Chin state

Starving in Burma's Chin state

Malnourished children

Many local children are severely malnourished

One of Burma's smallest ethnic minorities, the Mara, say hundreds of their people have starved to death.

Local human rights groups believe food shortages have brought 100,000 people in the western Chin state to a critical point and are calling for urgent assistance.

The cause is a natural phenomenon which occurs every 50 years, when bamboo plants produce fruit which triggers an explosion in the rat population.

Neighbouring India has implemented emergency measures to deal with this year's threat in the northern states.

But across the border it's a very different situation, as Bernadette Sandhu found when she visited the isolated Burmese community:

Listen Listen to Bernadette Sandhu's report (7 mins 13 secs)

Paul Risley is Asia spokesman for the World Food Programme.

Listen Listen to Paul Risley (4 mins 21 secs)

First broadcast September 26 2008

To see more of Bernadette's pictures from Chin state, click here.