(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
In the days since Cyclone Nargis passed through Burma on May 2 and 3, bringing a tidal surge with it to the delta region that has literally swept away hundreds of villages, it has become painfully obvious that the country’s government is completely unable to deal with what has happened.
In the immediate aftermath of the storm, local residents in somewhat affected areas, including Rangoon, banded together to do everything from clearing roads to distributing emergency supplies of water and food. In many rural areas, monks have taken charge as thousands of people have converged on monasteries, which are among the sturdiest buildings and which often have stockpiles of donated wood, food and other necessities.
The lack of any official presence in these parts has been striking in a country where government agents, in and out of uniform, are normally omnipresent. But the absurdity, ineptitude and persistent greed that characterize so much administrative conduct in Burma have in some areas become most apparent after soldiers, police and bureaucrats have finally turned up.
In one part of Rangoon, a fistfight reportedly broke out when outraged locals saw that water tankers were delivering supplies to the homes of council members and military officers but not to anyone else.
At Pazundaung, a unit of soldiers went to nearby houses to ask for machetes with which to cut fallen trees. Their commander demanded a car to oversee his men and shopkeepers were called upon to give chains with which to drag timber from the road.
In the worst affected areas, flattened villages and ruined crops are still littered with bodies and not a single person has turned up to assist. Many places, such as Laputta, remain partly submerged and the numbers of the dead and missing not yet entered into the daily rising tallies.
So where are Burma’s neighbors? Not long after the storm struck, the Association of Southeast Asian Nation’s secretary-general, the former foreign minister of Thailand, Surin Pitsuwan, called on the other nine member states to give generously, and hoped the same of its partners, which include heavyweights China, South Korea and Japan. (See news of his latest statement.)
His appeal seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Continue reading
Posted in army, Burma, dictatorship, human rights, military, Myanmar, other countries, poverty, referendum, UN, UPI
Tagged ASEAN, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, China, cyclone, Cyclone Nargis, India, Indian Ocean, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Labutta, Laputta, Nargis, Pazundaung, Philippines, Pitsuwan, Rangoon, Surin, Surin Pitsuwan, Thailand, tsunami, Yangon
(Update of some Burmese language reports on Cyclone Nargis’ aftermath)
Hospitals in Rangoon are being forced to turn away patients because of a lack of electricity and water. According to an employee at the general hospital (pictured above, in happier times), who spoke to Thailand-based Yoma 3 News by phone,
“There are only two power lines. The radiotherapy department had to discharge 30 patients because it has no electricity. Because of transport problems patients can’t get to the outpatients department (either).”
On last Sunday a pregnant woman going in to labour was refused admission to the emergency department and referred to the SSC special medical centre. Because the centre had no water the patient had to buy bottled water outside and give it in order to get treated. Continue reading
Posted in Burma, human rights, Myanmar, poverty
Tagged Ayeyarwaddy, Bago, cyclone, Cyclone Nargis, general hospital, Irrawaddy, Labutta, Laputta, Nargis, Pegu, Rangoon, Waw, Yangon