Myingyan fire leaves hundreds homeless

Mar 10, 2009 (DVB), A fire broke out at Myingyan in Mandalay division yesterday, destroying around 70 homes, including hostels belonging to the local technical college, and leaving hundreds homeless, local residents said.

It started from northern part of the town but the cause is still unclear.

"About 200 students from Government Technological Collage lost their places to stay and some of them have gone back to their towns while some are staying at their teachers' hostels," a resident said.

It is not known exactly how many people in total were left homeless, nor whether any were injured or killed.

"The fire started at Kadotekyin ward at about 2.15pm and finished at 3.30pm," he said. "People are on the streets and I saw some crying female students."

Around 200 monks helped to extinguish the fire, the resident added, while the seven fire engines that eventually turned up had no water ready.

"Authorities in town have done nothing so far to help the fire victims," he said. "They are taking shelter in nearby pagodas."

"They do not tend to give people help when 100 to 200 houses are burnt down," he said. "They only issue materials when 500 to 600 houses are burnt down."

Another resident who lost his house also voiced concern over whether the victims would even retain their plots of land, claiming that authorities often kept hold of them and relocated residents to areas outside of town.

"It always takes about two months by the time authorities grant us permissions to build houses on the land," he said.

An official on duty at the local fire station said, however, that the flames died down at 2.40pm.

He insisted that only 50 homes were destroyed and that government-affiliated groups were preparing to help the victims.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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