(Latest update of Burmese language reports on Cyclone Nargis)
“The township has 16 village tracts. There are at least five villages per tract, and over 200 villages in total. People coming from the villages said that out of these villagers, for every ten, only around three are alive.”
According to Yoma 3 sources, although the government has put the official death toll in Laputta at over a thousand it is in fact much higher than that and to date no help has arrived.
A villager who came into town said
“There’s work on the Thingangyi-Laputta Road but cars can’t travel it yet. Along every road, the Kyarnikan village roads, whatever road, there are so many dead they’re uncountable. For this reason many more in the villages could die. My mother, father, brothers and sisters are all dead. I can’t do anything. I’m left all alone.”
Twenty-two villages disappeared in the cyclone and tidal wave that it brought with it across the low-lying region, Yoma 3 says. It notes that there were in total 26 villages along the Laputta shore front: Kaingthaung, Pyinlan, Ayadaw, Yway, Gonenyindan, Thingankyi, Yeyway, Pyintaungpyay, Ohboe, Kyarnikan, Hsakyin, Pyinsalu, Layyeinkwin, Yekyawwa, Hsachet, Kyonekwin, Bitut, Myitpauk, Shwekyunthar, Dhanichaung, Saluhseit, Michaung-aing, Dayeihpyu, Kantbhalar, Yehsainggone and Thehpyu.
Another local resident said
“Everyone’s gone to stay in the monasteries. As they’ve run out of food, social welfare groups are boiling rice soup. Nobody has seen anything substantial done. It’s just in the news. It just went to Mawlamyaing Island. There’s been no help yet. Survivors coming into the town have machetes strapped to their waists, are getting into arguments. Security is not so good.”
Councils selling supplies
Township councils in Rangoon are not distributing emergency supplies free of charge but are selling them. Council vehicles are travelling in some areas announcing by loudspeaker that the government’s tax-free markets are open. But the products are not free. Low-grade rice is selling for 720 Kyat (about 45 US cents) for one viss (1.6kg), vegetable oil for 2240 Kyat for one viss and a sheet of roofing zinc for 4500 Kyat. Fuel for generators is also available at a price. (Source: DVB, May 6)
Soldiers borrowing knives to cut trees
Soldiers have appeared on Rangoon’s streets as part of the clean up effort, the first time they have been seen on them since last September’s uprising. “We started to see soldiers on the streets since yesterday morning,” a Pazundaung resident said.
“They were clearing trees from the roads. But they didn’t have anything with them. They borrowed machetes from nearby houses and then cut. An officer called a fireman and then borrowed a car from the ward with which to supervise. Then they went to ask for chains from some shops with which to drag the trees off.”
(Source: NEJ, May 6)
Drinking water problems
In Rangoon the cost of a bottle of one variety of drinking water has gone from 300 Kyat to 800-1000 Kyat (at least 65 US cents), and drinking water has sold out completely in some places. There is still no running water supply of any sort as the power remains down. Some government vehicles are coming to distribute water but it is not enough and it’s down to luck if you get water or not. The number of municipal vehicles is no way sufficient for the city’s population of five million. There was a melee in Pazundaung township when locals saw municipal vehicles delivering water to military and civilian officials’ houses but not to them and they crowded around to demand water also. At 7pm on May 6 the municipal authorities announced that they will be reopening the water pipes, but because there is no power for the pumping stations only persons with their own generators will be able to draw it out. (Source: NEJ, May 6)
Paddy, crops destroyed
In Ma-ubin, a district capital in the delta only a few hours from Rangoon, houses have also been flattened and deaths confirmed. One boat disappeared while two en route with cargo to Rangoon were sunk. High numbers of casualties have been reported in Le-einsu village tract and Maletdoe and Htanni villages. Colleges and schools have had their rooves ripped open and windows shattered. Hundreds of acres of dry-season paddy that were ripened and ready for harvest have been utterly destroyed, as have banana, chili and betel nut plantations. No assistance has yet been received. (Source: DVB, May 7)
As has been reported by various sources, official casualty figures were on Tuesday night were put at 22,262 dead and 41,500 missing and counting. Most casualties were in Irrawaddy Division, 21,793 dead, 40,659 missing, the latter because of the tidal wave that accompanied the storm, sweeping entire villages along the coastline and rivers away in the manner of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami (when the same area of Burma was affected but lightly by comparison to countries to its east). In Rangoon the number of dead was Tuesday night put at 671 (not including those allegedly shot inside the prison) and 359 missing. But there have been smaller numbers of casualties reported further east that are not included in these figures yet, and there are areas in the border regions close to Thailand where there are no means of accurate assessment at all.