“90% of big trees in Rangoon are gone”

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?

“Not yet.”

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.”

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3 responses to ““90% of big trees in Rangoon are gone”

  1. I pray that the rebel groups are trying to smuggle in food, water, and fuel for the needy. I hope they are helping the people and letting them know it is them and not the SPDC helping. The world is watching you right now Burma, you have our attention, what statement will you make. Do you still want the SPDC ruleing your lives? Now is your chance…speak up and speak out.

  2. Pingback: La tragedia del ciclón Nargis contada desde los blogs en Radiocable.com

  3. USDA claims credit for disaster relief efforts

    May 8, 2008 (DVB)—Rangoon residents have accused the government-backed Union Solidarity and Development Association of taking credit for disaster relief activities carried out by private groups and individuals.

    One resident said the USDA had been claiming responsibility for assistance given by other groups to those hit by Cyclone Nargis in the former capital.

    “A charity group from a mosque in Kandawlay township went to Kunchangone township yesterday to donate some rice to disaster victims there,” the resident said.

    “But they were stopped when they got to Kaw Hmu township and the USDA there seized their rice and donated it to locals in the USDA’s name.”

    The resident said the USDA had also put flags on fire engines to make it appear as though they had provided water to locals.

    “Some fire trucks arrived into Pabedan and Latha townships in Rangoon and started providing water to people in the neighbourhood,” he said.

    “But there were USDA flags on the trucks which made it look like they organized the water aid. There wasn’t even enough water for everyone.”

    “In reality, the USDA doesn’t do anything for the people. They are just taking credit for work done by other people.”

    When local authorities did provide assistance to cyclone victims, it was in return for their support in the upcoming constitutional referendum, the resident said.

    “In Thingangyun and South and North Dagon townships, authorities are selling zinc sheets at Ward Peace and Development Council offices to locals for 4900 kyat per sheet,” he said.

    “But they had to buy application forms and were told they had to vote ‘Yes’ in the upcoming referendum in order to buy the sheets. So they just decided not to buy them from the authorities.”

    The national referendum on the draft constitution is due to be held on 10 May in most of the country, but has been postponed until 24 May in some of the worst-hit townships in Rangoon and Irrawaddy divisions.

    Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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