Tragedy in Myanmar. Mass starvation caused by a plague of rats.

Just yesterday, the World Health Organization announced that the swine flu outbreak was now a pandemic. While we now much about the danger this outbreak poses, there are deadly threats that have, so far, gone under the radar. From Food for the Hungry comes this report about the Chin people in Myanmar:

About 200 villages in the Chin State in Western Myanmar are suffering from extreme food shortages due to a rat infestation. The phenomenon known as “maudam” occurs about once every 50 years when flowering bamboo trees produce a fruit that nourishes the rat population. The last time it struck was in 1958, preceded by incidents in 1911 and 1862. Rats feed on the fruit, multiplying by the millions until the fruit supply disappears after which the rodents ravage local rice and corn crops.

Eyewitnesses report barren fields and empty seed bins. In addition, as many as 100 children and elderly have already died from malnutrition and of the 100,000 Chin people who remain, many are weak, thin and sick. Without intervention, the situation will only worsen.

Nova has produced a documentary for PBS that is good in getting an education on how the disaster has spread. Because this is happening in a nation most people can’t find on a map and isn’t worldwide, it may be hard to be moved. Yet, there is a need and an opportunity to put your faith into practice. Go here to help.

HT: Desiring God blog

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