Rat Attack Against The Grain

Villagers in Southern Burma are under attack as rats swarm their rice farms and devour their crops.

P’doh Saw Htee Wah, secretary of the Karen National Union’s (KNU) Tenaseerim Township, told Karen News.

“Villagers in the areas of Ma Noe Ro, Ta Ket, Pa Wat, Kay are facing a huge problem as rats attack their crops at night and destroyed in some cases their entire crop. Some villagers lost all crop in a few days. We are trying to collect data to gauge the total destruction of rice crops in the area.”

The affected villages are in the area of Tenasserim Township, east of Myeik Town.

P’doh Saw Htee Wah said information the KNU had collected showed that villagers crops destroyed by the rats affected four villages – as many as 136 households.

P’doh Saw Htee Wah said the rat attacks and the destroyed crops would cause an enormous food shortage.

“So far in four villages about 729 people would face food shortages in the coming year. The crops destruction by rats around the area is spreading.”

Local KNU authorities and villagers said an unusual large area of bamboo now in seed caused the large population of rats to attack their crops. Villagers said when bamboo produces seed it attracts swarms of rats.

The rat attack, according to villagers happens when the bamboo flowers, produces a seed or fruit. The seed attracts swarms of rats. Villagers believe the seeds cause the rats to multiply rapidly, causing an infestation. After eating the seeds, the rats attack the villagers’ crops.

A villager, Saw Poe Wat, from Kay village told Karen News how the rats destroyed his crops.

“All my three acres of rice crops have been eaten by the rats. The rat swarmed the paddy at night. They are unstoppable. Most of the villagers lost their crops. For example, out of a 100 rice farms only 30 have be left untouched by the rats.”

Saw Poe Wat said the bamboo in seed had attracted the vermin.

“We think that the rat population has increased as a result of the extra food from the bamboo seeds. This year a large area of bamboo near our village was in seed seeds. After rats eat all the bamboo seed, they start to swarm our crops.”

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