May 29, 2008 (DVB), More than 1000 cyclone refugees from Bogalay taking shelter in Ma-au Bin have been forced by local authorities to leave the town and return to their villages, according to lawyer U Aye Myint.
Aye Myint, from legal aid group Guiding Star, said he had encountered the refugees on 25 May on his way back from aid donation work in Phyar-pon, Kyeil Latt, Dadaye and Ma-au Bin townships organized by monks from Bago township.
"We saw about 1000 refugees in 10 buses at the bridge crossing between Phyar-pon and Bogalay , we had to stop there for a while as the bridge was broken," Aye Myint said.
"I asked about 100 refugees where they were going and they said they were going back to Bogalay as they had been made to leave Ma-au Bin by local authorities," he said.
"They had some sort of ID cards pinned on the shirts with their names and ID numbers written on them. They said they didn’t know what the situation was in their villages and most of their homes had not yet been rebuilt."
Authorities have previously used waterways to transport refugees back to their villages but now are using buses to avoid overcrowding on boats.
Aye Myint said another 1000 refugees had also been sent back to their villages from Ma-au Bin the previous night by local authorities who said there was not enough food for them.
Reporting by Nan Kham Kaew