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Rangoon residents tell of severe food and water shortages after cyclone

4 May 2008 (DVB) – If international help doesn't come within a week, it will be impossible to survive, one Rangoon resident told DVB after tropical cyclone Nargis hit most of Rangoon on Saturday.

DVB talked to several residents in Rangoon on Sunday, 4th May.

Resident 1

What is important at the moment is food and shelter. We are facing electricity blackout. Water is not being pumped up. Now that there is no electricity supply, some people bought generators. Of course, those who could afford are utilising them but most of the people those who could not afford are in considerable problems. They have nothing to eat. As for commodity price, the price for both rice and cooking oil has risen; duck eggs, salt, cooking oil, onions and chillies, all their prices have gone up. The price just jumped and doubled. The price of a bag of rice is 30,000 and 29,000 (kyat). The price of fuel for a gallon is normally 4,000 – 4,500 , but now 6,000. That is the price of yesterday. Even that, the vehicles are not running regularly because they are not being rationed petrol and diesel. Only outside (private) cars which charge 500 and the like are running. (The public transport) cars are not working regularly.

Resident 2

We are facing drinking water problem. Now people are buying water from fire engines. The price for (the service of) fire brigade has gone up. The prices for food and drinks have all gone up. The price of rice has gone up. The price of rice has gone beyond 30,000 for a bag. The quote for the price of the generator was one thing in the morning and it had jumped by the evening. The price of petrol is 8,000-10,000 now. At the moment, I am looking for petrol.

Resident 3

As the tin roof of every house is overturned, we are all in trouble. We have nowhere to stay in rainwater. And we have no water. We have no electricity. Every household is in trouble. The price of rice, cooking oil, is rising. The pure water is expensive, things are like this; a bottle of pure water is 3-4-500 (kyat). The price of fish and meat is rising to 7-800-900. Everything is expensive. We are in great trouble. There is no water to drink.

Resident 4

Electricity won't come within 10-15 days. People are starving. Fuel is becoming scarce. People are all likely to die of starvation. If international help doesn't come within a week, it will be impossible survive. There will be nothing left to eat.

Resident 5

It will take quite awhile to make the situation return to normal regarding accommodation and food.

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