Cyclone victims suspect officials of switching aid

May 21, 2008 (DVB), Survivors of Cyclone Nargis in Maaupin believe that rice donated by the Swiss government was taken by local authorities and replaced with poor quality supplies.

A relief worker in Maaupin said the cyclone victims had noticed the quality of rice when they opened the bags, but did not initially confront the authorities about it.

"Cyclone refugees in Maaupin were disappointed to find that bags of rice labeled as being sent by the Swiss government contained only broken rice grains when they were opened," the relief worker said.

Some town residents asked the Union Solidarity and Development Association members who were responsible for distribution for an explanation, the relief worker said.

"They claimed they had not made any changes to the bags since they arrived," he said.

"But no one believes the Swiss government would give cyclone victims bags of broken rice grains."

The relief worker said Myo Win, a local Ward Peace and Development Council member, had been seen openly selling rice.

When asked by townspeople for an explanation, he reportedly said that the community would be able to buy more necessary aid supplies with the profit he made from selling the rice.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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