Interview on Voice of America Burmese service with a resident of Rangoon, May 6 regarding clean up operations after Cyclone Nargis:
“Here, there are (Union) Solidarity and Development (Association) flags up and they’re cutting trees. They put flags to let others know they’re really working. I saw them distributing water. The municipality started clean-up work on roads and so on today. Nothing substantial yet. They’re just cleaning up by hand. To really do it will take fork lifts and so on. Up to now, there are big trees all over the sidewalks. 90% of big trees in Rangoon are gone. Roads are still closed. People are doing what’s necessary in their quarters to clean up enough to get back and forth.”
Is public transport running again or not?
“Not all of it. Some has been able to. A bus fare of 50 Kyat before is now around 500 Kyat (80 US cents).”
Are the markets reopened?
“Not yet. They’re still closed. People are buying what they can to eat.”
Have you seen aid groups like the ICRC?
Have you seen any work by UN agencies?
“Not yet. Up to now I haven’t heard anything.”
What’s the overall situation in Rangoon now?
“There’s absolutely no electricity. A gallon of fuel is about 10,000 Kyat around here.”
It’s available to buy?
“It can at last. They’re giving out fuel again starting today. Diesel and CNG are being given out (from government monopoly shops). The long queues (for fuel) are stretching about a mile.”
How about rice, oil, other foods?
“The price of rice has increased. ‘Ngakywe’ variety has gone from around 900 to around 1400 now.”