Mandalay fire victims need blankets and nets

Feb 12, 2009 (DVB), More than 1000 people who were left homeless by a fire in Mandalay which destroyed over 300 homes on Monday are in urgent need of blankets and mosquito nets.

One person who lost her home said people were sharing what they had.

"Blankets and mosquito nets are needed most. People are just sitting there like stumps and sharing what they have. Some people just sleep," she said.

"They are facing difficulties finding a proper place to live."

But the woman said locals had been very generous in providing food for those affected by the fire.

"There is no difficulty in trying to procure food; there are many donors," she said.

"They come and put the donations in our hands. We haven’t received donations from collective efforts yet."

The fire started on the afternoon of 9 February in Myayi Nandar ward, Chanmyatharzi township, when a motorcyclist discarded a smouldering cigarette at a petrol pump, according to local residents.

The fire was extinguished by state firefighters within an hour, but had already affected 323 families by the time it could be brought under control.

Although the authorities have stated that there were no deaths, local people claim at least three people may have been killed in the blaze.

The regional military commander and the mayor came to inspect the area after the fire had died down.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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