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Donors face questioning at checkpoints

Jun 2, 2008 (DVB), Authorities have put more checkpoints in place on the way to cyclone-affected areas and are questioning donors as they pass, according to a member of a youth relief team from Rangoon.

Despite the military regime's recent announcement that donors could travel freely to cyclone-hit areas, Pyi Sone Kyaw, a youth team member, told DVB that he was still questioned on his way to Irrawaddy division.

"Security forces , immigration, police and riot police , are everywhere. I had to go through three checkpoints to reach my destination," Pyi Sone Kyaw said.

"I was asked where I was going and if any foreigners were accompanying me. There was a sign saying free passage at every checkpoint but I was still questioned," he said.

"As for our truck driver who was transporting the aid, his name and car registration were recorded."

Pyi Sone Kyaw and his close friends formed a youth relief team to help cyclone victims, and collected money from other friends and relatives to purchase relief supplies.

They recently went to remote villages in Pyar Pone township in the Irrawaddy delta on Sunday to distribute aid to villagers.

On 27 May, the National Disaster Preparedness Central Committee of the military regime issued News Release No. 8 saying donors could go right down to storm-hit areas of their choice.

Reporting by Yee May Aung


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