Cyclone victims forced into reconstruction work

Oct 10, 2008 (DVB), Residents of cyclone-devastated townships in Rangoon have complained that they are being forced by local authorities to do unpaid reconstruction work, preventing them from earning money.

A resident of Shwe Paukkan township said one person per household was required to take part in the tasks.

"We were given orders by the ward Peace and Development Council that one person per household must help clean up roads and drains , those who refused to work were denied permission for guest registrations," he said.

"They gave us no money for our work, just a pyi of wet rice for each person but the rice was not edible."

A woman from Khayan-Thone Gwa township said local residents were unable to continue with their usual work because of the authorities' demands.

"We were forced by local ward authorities to rebuild farms destroyed by the cyclone with no money for the work," she said.

"We earn money with our daily work to feed ourselves but since we have been forced to do work for the authorities, we could not do any work of our own."

A Thanlyin township resident said locals had not received any support when they became ill after working.

"We were forced by the ward PDC chairman U Zaw Win to work but he wouldn’t give us any medical insurance or assistance when we got sick from doing his work," he said.

Reporting by Htet Yazar

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