7 December 2004

Update on Burma Army attacks in Naunglybin District, Karen State and description of paddy rice and amount burned*

Burning rice barn

Burned home

IDPs in hiding after attacks

The Burma Army has displaced 4,781 Karen people in the Shwygn/Hsaw Htee area of Naunglybin District, Karen State. 19,425 baskets of paddy rice have been burned. The Burma Army is continuing its attacks in this area and there are now six Burma Army battalions involved in the operation. LIB20 commanded by Kyaw Kyaw, is continuing its burning of farms, homes and barns. LIB 264 commanded by Tin Maung Shwey is patrolling the area searching for any remaining rice or homes to destroy. IB 57 is in support of the two main attacking battalions. LIB 350 is also in a supporting position for these attacks (in the immediate area, but their exact location is unknown). LIB 28 is moving supplies for the attacking battalions and LIB 589 is the reserve battalion for the operation. The IDPs are still in hiding in the jungle in this area and cannot move during the daytime. Their homes, barns, crops and paddy rice have been destroyed.

Paddy Rice Destroyed:

*19,425 baskets equal 388,000 kilos of paddy rice or 853,600 pounds. Each basket of paddy rice is 20 kilos, equal to two tins of paddy rice, each tin holding 10 kilos. (Note: 1 tin of paddy rice can be between 8-11 kilos. 10 kilos is used for this report.) Paddy rice is rice that has been cut, harvested, winnowed and gathered in the rice fields or into barns. It is still in its husk. It is then put into baskets and carried to a barn to be pounded in order to separate the rice grain from the husk. Paddy rice is pounded and the grain separated from the husk by a hand pounder, foot pounder, or taken to a mill and milled by machine. In the area attacked, the rice is milled by each family, using hand and foot pounders.

Milled rice is 16.6 kilos to a tin and thus 33.2 kilos or 70 lbs to a basket. There are three tins of milled rice per sack. A sack of milled rice is 50 kilos or about 100 lbs. When converted from paddy rice to milled rice, the amount burned would be between 144,000 kilos and 200,000 kilos of milled rice, or between 2,880 and 4,000 sacks.

The immediate needs of the IDPs are: security, rice, blankets, cooking pots and medicine.