CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh, April 26 Bangladesh deployed troops at a dumping site near the country's main Chittagong port on Saturday to stop poor people from collecting rotten rice, officials said.
"The dumping site has been cordoned, and the relevant authorities have been asked not to dump rotten rice at unrestricted spots anymore," a security official said.
Hundreds of poor people thronged the dumping site as the Food Department started ditching some 500 tonnes of damaged rice on Friday.
Nearly half of Bangladesh's 140 million people live on an income less than a dollar per day and their plight has worsened since rice and other food prices started rising this year.
The retail price of a kilo of rice and wheat has risen by 100 percent since last year to around 40 taka ($0.58) and 45 taka respectively, officials said.
Bangladesh faces food shortages after the country lost around 3 million tonnes of rice and wheat in a series of floods and a devastating cyclone last year.
The dumped rice had been donated for the victims of Cyclone Sidr by Pakistan but was damaged during shipment in January.
"The rice is still not too bad, we are sure this will not harm us," said Manjula Begum, a mother of three children, after collecting a bowl of rice.
($1 = 68.58 taka)
(Reporting by Nazimuddin Shyamol; Writing by Nizam Ahmed; Editing by David Fox)