Cyclone victims still struggling five months on

Oct 2, 2008 (DVB), Five months after the devastating Cyclone Nargis struck Irrawaddy division, survivors in Bogalay and Laputta township are still struggling for survival, local residents said.

The situation in the northeastern regions of Bogalay is said to be particularly difficult as cyclone victims have not yet received assistance from the international community, a resident of Bogalay said.

"Very few people get help, villagers are still looking for donors," he said.

"They said they still haven’t received provisions from donors. I am sure that help hasn’t reached them."

Around 40 people have found work in stone quarries or repairing road, but the jobs are scarce and poorly paid, with workers only taking home around 1000 kyat a day, the Bogalay resident said.

People in Laputta township also said they were not getting enough support, and shelters built by the authorities along the main roads are now being demolished.

"Motorboats and nets were given to the fishermen," a Laputta resident said.

"People who don’t work get them and there are some disputes," she said.

"They also have to bribe the local authorities to get help. Those who cannot afford to pay don’t get help."

The Laputta resident said that farmers were also facing problems because their crops had failed repeatedly, particularly those with paddy fields in low-lying areas closer to the sea, but did not dare complain to the authorities.

While cyclone survivors are hopeful that international assistance will come, they are doing their best to make ends meet until it does, the resident said.

Reporting by Nam Kham Kaew

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