Rangoon residents suffer in cyclone aftermath

May 5, 2008 (DVB)-Rangoon residents have been left without sufficient clean water, housing and transportation as they continue to suffer the after effects of Cyclone Nargis, according to a local resident.

A resident of Sanchaung township, Rangoon division, said the authorities have provided almost no help or support for rescue efforts and damage repairs.

"There is quite a lot of damage in Sanchaung township in Rangoon division; power lines have been uprooted, [falling trees and power lines] smashed onto the houses ," he said.

The resident said clean drinking water was in short supply and the authorities were not doing enough to address the problem.

"In order to get drinking and utility water, for example, you have to hire fire engines," he said.

"You have to pay 30,000 kyat to the fire brigade and 17,000 for the fuel. People from the ward jointly hire it and you pump water out of the drilled well using the motor, and then share it out."

"Everyone has to queue and get a bucket or two of water for each household. People are quite busy with the business of getting water."

The Sanchaung resident said locals were taking it upon themselves to repair their houses, despite their lack of expertise, and some had ended up in hospital after attempting roof repairs.

In Insein township, about one thousand houses near the embankment are reported to be submerged and people have taken shelter inside a Buddhist monastery.

Transport also remains a problem due to road blockages caused by fallen trees and the resident said little has been done by the government to clear the roads, forcing locals to tackle the problems themselves.

"The Union Solidarity and Development Association members are only there for show. They only chopped and cleared [the trees] where people could see them and just took photographs for records," he said.

"In fact, on roads where people are finding it hard to travel, more than 1000 monks from Sanchaung township and Kyitmyintaing township worked together to chop down the trees and clear the streets."

"As a result, the transportation system is becoming a little bit better."

Members of the public offered the monks clean drinking water and food while they worked.

The resident said that drinking and utility water could become scarce within the next two weeks and warned of severe consequences to public health without urgent assistance from international NGOs, the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and other humanitarian organisations.

Reporting by Moe Aye

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