RFA Burmese service has reported that the do-it-yourself cyclone response imposed on the already long-suffering people of Burma has claimed more lives. Around 4pm on May 19 four boats carrying Cyclone Nargis refugees from Bogalay sank in heavy rain and rough seas, the station has reported. One sank near Bhyonehmway Island, another two near Kantayar Pier and the other near Kaingtawwa village, it said.
The boats were believed to be carrying around 300 people and sacks of rice grain. The vessel that went down near Bhyonehmway Island had two Red Cross workers on board along with many former residents of Kyeinlonegyi village who had come to Bogalay for shelter and had been paid off by officials to leave. So far there are no figures on numbers of dead but the casualties are expected to be high. According to a local who spoke to RFA
“All these passengers were villagers who had left Bogalay having arrived as refugees there. Each household got 20,000 cash (about US$17) and eight pyi (about 2 litres) of rice grain then the military forced them to go back to their villages. Yesterday they got caught in a storm leaving Bogalay and the ships sank killing the lot.” Continue reading
Posted in army, Burma, dictatorship, human rights, military, Myanmar, poverty, UN
Tagged Bogalay, Bogale, cyclone, Cyclone Nargis, Nargis, Radio Free Asia, RFA, The Mirror
(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. Continue reading
Posted in Burma, dictatorship, human rights, military, Myanmar, poverty
Tagged Bogalay, cyclone, Cyclone Nargis, Democratic Voice of Burma, Division 66, DVB, ID 66, Infantry Division 66, Kawhmu, Labutta, Laputta, Mandalay, Nargis, Twente, Union Solidarity and Development Association, USDA, Yoma 3
(Update of some Burmese language reports of Cyclone Nargis’ aftermath)
In some seriously cyclone-damaged areas of the Irrawaddy Division, authorities have begun moving homeless survivors a few at a time to towns that escaped the eye of the storm, but have not prepared properly for them once they get there (while simultaneously blocking a massive waiting international aid effort, as has been reported across the international news).
According to the Yoma 3 News Service (Thailand), starting from May 8 survivors in Laputta, Bogalay, Mawkyun (Mawlamyaing Island) and Pyapon have been getting moved by boat in small groups to intact towns in other parts of the delta. In Bogalay, the township officials arranged for the relocating of 420 people to Wakema and have housed them in schools there. In total, 3000 people are to be put up in the market ward primary school, high school nos. 1 and 2, as well as Mintharkyi and U Boe Kyi schools.
However, one of the local residents told Yoma 3 by phone that,
“The authorities said that a thousand sacks of rice and four drums of oil are on their way. In the meantime, without being asked the locals, shopkeepers, townsfolk are together feeding them fried rice noodles and so on.”
Similarly, despite hundreds of refugees coming to Kyonemange, the township council chairman was still more interested in preparing for the May 10 constitutional referendum that the regime has insisted will go ahead despite international protest: Continue reading
Posted in Burma, constitution, dictatorship, human rights, Myanmar, poverty, referendum
Tagged Ayeyarwaddy, Bassein, Bogalay, cyclone, Cyclone Nargis, Irrawaddy, Labutta, Laputta, Nargis, Pathein, Pyapon
There are many news reports on the scale of damage and deaths left in Cyclone Nargis’ wake now available in English, and persons interested to get detailed information on the response should especially follow the updates on Relief Web.
According to a government broadcast that Reuters monitored from Bangkok, the official figures as of Tuesday, May 6, stand at:
Irrawaddy Division: Nearly 15,000 dead, 3,000 missing; comprising 1,835 dead, 2,187 missing on Mawlamyaing Island; 975 dead on Heingyi Island; 253 dead, 10 missing on Khetta Island; 789 dead, 172 missing in Dedaye Township; over 1000 dead in Laputta Township; and about 10,000 dead in Bogalay Township. The damage in the delta seems to have been especially severe due to a surge in the sea level at the time of the storm.
Yangon Division: 59 dead, over 500 missing; comprising of 19 dead, 4 missing in Yangon and 40 dead, about 500 missing in Kunchankone. Presumably these figures do not include the prisoners allegedly shot dead at Insein Prison.
At time of writing the government website news had not been updated since May 2.
In the next few days, Rule of Lords will post news from Burmese sources that may be getting partly covered or not covered in the mainstream English media.
Eyewitness account from Laputta
Nearly the entire town of Laputta, which has about 50,000 people living in it, was flattened in the storm, according to one eyewitness. Still, because surrounding villages have been completely obliterated, the villagers have also been pouring into the wrecked town and tens of thousands are estimated to be affected.
“Some were killed by flying trees, some from exposure to the cold, some died when they had gathered to shelter from the storms in monasteries and they collapsed,” the eyewitness said. Continue reading
Posted in Burma, human rights, Myanmar, poverty
Tagged Aung Thaung, Ayeyarwaddy, Bogalay, cyclone, Cyclone Nargis, Dedaye, Heingyi, Hlaingthayar, Insein, Irrawaddy, Khetta, Kunchankone, Labutta, Laputta, Mandalay, Mawlamyaing, Nargis, Relief Web, Taunghsin, Theingyi, Yangon, Yoma 3