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Eighty-five percent of Hakha residents consumers of alcohol

Myitmakha News Agency

Hakha, September 13 – eighty-five percent of residents from Hakha, the Chin State capital, either consume alcohol or use drugs, a survey by the Chinland Research Initiative has revealed.

The survey was reportedly conducted at total of 219 households in the town, which straddles a wind-swept mountain ridge in the heart of the state.

According to the survey, alcohol, cigarettes and the ubiquitous betel nut were among legal products consumed with drugs among illegal substances.

But the results come as a shock to some. “I don’t think the survey’s result are possible,” Anthony Cung Mang, founding director of Grassroots Empowerment and Ecosystem Nurturing (GREEN), contested to Myitmakha News Agency. “If it was 85 percent of [Hakha] males, then it’s possible. But 85 percent of the whole town’s population? That means it includes women as well.”

Civil society organizations in Chin State are reportedly trying to combat the consumption of alcohol in the region by holding discussion workshops and conducting educational awareness initiatives.

Others, however, are not so surprised, citing the high percentage of alcohol drinkers steaming from a dearth in alternative recreational activity.
“The government needs to create a lot of different leisure activities for the town’s people. It’s not surprising people tend to drink alcohol in their free time when there’s nowhere to go and nothing else to do,” said Salai Aung Khine, a Hakha resident.

The only public park in Hakha was closed back in 1989, while the Everest Cinema shut-up-shop in 1996, according to local residents.

“Residents of Chin State cherish alcohol as though it’s their mother’s milk. If the time’s right, they buy it to take-away and drink it where they see fit,” said Deputy Police Chief Hla Ri of the Hakha Police Department.

As well as making efforts to prohibit usage of drugs and other illegal substances, the Hahka police force reportedly also spend their time cracking down on illegal home-brewing of traditional alcohol.

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