Corpse robbers and angry villagers

(Latest roundup of some news on Cyclone Nargis in Burmese language media)

There have been a few reports about corpses of cyclone victims found with ears and fingers cut off, apparently to take the jewelry. Now the Yoma 3 News Service has alleged that soldiers of Infantry Division 66 are among those responsible. According to an eyewitness from Bogalay who spoke by phone,

“Division 66 officers and soldiers are removing everything from the bodies of the dead. If wearing bracelets, they’re cutting off the hands.”

The witness also accused the troops of refusing to allow relatives of victims from Kyachaung, Satkyun, Ayardan and Padekaw villages from meeting with their loved ones, and said that as they had sold drinking water that was sent for the survivors in those places from a betel nut shop at the Irrawaddy Pier for 500 Kyat (about 45 US cents) per bottle, so the survivors have been drinking any water that they could find.

Meanwhile, the efforts of private citizens have continued to keep people alive where officialdom has been busy apparently trying to do the opposite. According to a doctor who visited Twente who also spoke to Yoma 3,

“The villages that we reached don’t even have food. They’ve made huts to stay in out of old thatch. It’s an unhappy scene. Even in the places so near to Rangoon sufficient aid has still not arrived. They’re all expecting it. Nobody had come. As there’s water in the hand pump wells that’s not such a worry but there’s quite a rice problem.”

In Twente section 8 bore the brunt of the storm and was destroyed, while about 90 per of the buildings in the township suffered damage. At present there are five temporary sites set up to house people at monasteries and schools. Zinc roofing is being sold for 4900 Kyat (about US$4) per sheet, not given out.

Around Twente town there are 95 village tracts all of which have suffered damage and are in need of help, the doctor said. At Panhlaing the sluice gates are shut and there is an outbreak of disease. In some villages monasteries are housing and feeding people but have enough food supplies for only three or four days.

Similar conditions are reported in Htanmanaing, of Kawhmu Township, Rangoon, which was hit hard by the storm too. Of the 540 houses there before, only ten are still intact. However, as the water supply there also was destroyed, children are drinking from dirty water sources and getting stomach ailments. There are no medicines for them when they become sick, a resident said to Yoma 3. As the people there too had received no help so far, a villager had husked the remainder of his paddy stock (being kept for planting next season) and distributed it to the hungry.

In other news, four senior monks from the Mandalay Mahagandharayone Monastery have arrived in Rangoon to bring relief supplies that they have collected there. Monks are also coming with emergency aid from Pegu and Magwe. They are distributing the food and other items in Rangoon and the delta (Source: DVB, May 14). (Full report is now in English).

Authorities are continuing to drive people out of temporary shelters, and are not even sparing injured persons, let alone giving them any help, say victims in Laputta. Members of the government mass organisation the Union Solidarity and Development Association are telling people that if they want help then they have to go back to their own homes. An elderly woman told DVB that

“They say go back home. I don’t have a home so where will I go back to? They also don’t have any plan to give aid, just get us out. Back to where?”

A man angrily condemned the local officials:

“The chairman hasn’t come, the ten-household head also hasn’t come, the hundred-household head also hasn’t come; nobody’s come. They’ve got the (relief) supplies alright, and they’ve kept them all.”

(Listen to audio of these comments)

There are many similar reports on DVB and other radio stations attesting to the same problems and growing anger among people across all of the affected areas (see in English on Bogalay, here and here, Dawpon, and Laputta, and in general, here), even as yet another cyclone is reportedly forming in the Bay of Bengal.

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4 responses to “Corpse robbers and angry villagers

  1. Pingback: Burmese Weekly : Vol 25 , WE Sun 18th May '08 - TeakDoor.com - The Thailand Forum

  2. I just wanted to add, please spread the links for the petitions to others so that we get more signatures.

  3. The Burmese Junta led by merciless Sr.Gn ThanShwe not even give helping hands to desperate Survivors or Cyclone Nargis but also declair total denial of foreign relief assistances. Further more, even supress the helpless through his ruthless thugs – Police, Military, and Swan Ahshin. ThanShwe must be recorded as the most horrible mass murderer of the modern World.

    On behalf of all the Nargis survivors, wishing tyrrant ThanShwe died in sever pain by the next Storm, or Earthquake, or both at Naypyidaw.

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