Relief Urgently Needed asLeaves Dozens Missing

Around 100 villages on Ramree Island, as well as the island’s major town of Kyakpyu, have suffered severe damage after Cyclone Giri hit the Arakan coast on Friday with winds of up to 160 km (100 miles) per hour and waves as high as 3.6 meters (12 feet), according to local sources.

There are still no confirmed reports of casualties, although sources in the area said that dozens of  villagers and fisherman are believed to have gone missing since the storm reached its peak at around 3 pm yesterday.


Infared satellite close-up of the eye of Cyclone Giri as it hit Burma on Friday. (Source: Colorado State University)

Local residents also said that there was an urgent need for food, water and shelter after the storm left hundreds of homes destroyed by flood waters or falling trees. 

Power lines and telephone poles have also been badly damaged by the storm, making it difficult for many residents to get outside assistance.

“The whole town of Kyaukpyu has been hit hard,” a local resident told The Irrawaddy on Saturday. “There are fallen trees everywhere, and many houses right on the coast have been swept away. All the shops are closed, so there’s nowhere to buy food or drinking water.”

A local government official confirmed the urgent need for emergency assistance, particularly in Kyaukpyu’s Zone 11, an area with a population of around 10,000 that was directly in the path of the cyclone.

Besides food and water, the official said that many people in the area also need medical attention and construction materials to build temporary shelters.

There were no reported cases of damage to the major Burmese naval base located on Ramree, an island that has attracted growing international attention in recent years as the starting point of a gas and oil pipeline project that will link Kyaukpyu to Kunming, capital of China’s Yunnan Province.

Meanwhile, Bangladeshi media reported on Saturday that more than 100 fishermen in 21 boats from Bangladesh have gone missing from the northeastern reaches of the Bay of Bengal since yesterday.

There have also been reports that around 70 foreign tourists have been stranded in the southern Arakan resort town of Ngapali due to the closure of the airport at Thandwe.

Unlike in May 2008, when the Burmese regime failed to warn residents of the Irrawaddy delta of the approach of Cyclone Nargis, the state-run media has provided extensive coverage of Cyclone Giri.

According to Burmese meteorologist Tun Lwin, Cyclone Giri has weakened since crossing the Rakhine mountain range, but continues to bring heavy rain to Magway and Mandalay divisions, which have already experienced severe flooding in recent weeks. The state media has also issued storm warnings for these areas.

UPDATE (as of 5:00 pm Saturday local time): According to the latest reports, at least 5,000 people in Kyaukpyu are now homeless as a result of extensive damage to the town. Sources said that the Red Cross in Kyaukpyu has arranged to provide 300 tents and 150 bags of rice to local residents.

Myebon Township, located between Kyaukpyu and the Arakan State capital of Sittwe, has been identified as the worst-hit area, although no details regarding casualties or damage have been made available.


Education department staff campaign for USDP by KIC

The entire Burmese government machinery seems to have been mobilized to help the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) win the elections slated for November 7.

For instance staff belonging to the education department has been campaigning in some village-tracts in Tha Hton and Beelin Township in Mon State. They have been urging locals to vote for the USDP, a person close to the staff members said.

“With the election drawing near, the USDP held a meeting with school teachers in western and eastern regions of Donthami stream. The USDP has not been directly telling school teachers to campaign but indirectly tells them to canvass for the party when they come to take their salaries. But, the USDP is luring school teachers with the promise of an increased salary if they persuade people to vote for the party,” the staff told KIC.

Though candidates of other political parties have not come to campaign in these regions, the USDP members have organized campaigns since September. The USDP has also recruited new members by doling out money.

To ensure victory in the polls, the USDP members have been helping locals procure national identity cards. To get ID cards, one needs to spend less money than earlier, the staff said.

“Earlier, a person had to spend 10,000 Kyat for an ID card. But, now one needs to shell out only 2,000 Kyat for an ID. School teachers in the area are aware that it is an indirect way of persuading people to vote for the USDP,” he added.

The Union Election Commission has announced that the last date for campaigning is October 30.

Strong arm tactics by USDP; army to get votes by KIC

Blatant strong arm tactics are in evidence with USDP candidates and the Burmese Army joining hands to pressurize village headmen in Kyauk Gyi Township, Bago region to vote for the party and mobilize voters, a village headman in constituency No.2 in Kyauk Gyi Township said.

“Only one party seems to be contesting in our region. Leaders of the USDP called us and told us to vote for them. Village headmen are playing an important role. They also have to urge people to vote for USDP. We are reluctant but we have to exercise our franchise and vote USDP,” a villager said.

Kyauk Gyi Township has two constituencies. The USDP and NUP are contesting in the No.2 constituency. Of the two parties, USDP candidates have held campaign rallies and urged people to vote for them.

There are 10 village-tracts under the No.2 constituency, which include 45 villages including Pattalar, Innet, Lel Welgyi, Wel Ladaw, Kywetalin, Mamayar, Natthakwin, Htowaseik, Daungmo, and Kyauk Zayit.

The USDP candidates will contest for the State, People and National Parliament from constituency No.2. They are: U Win Bo for State Parliament, U Thet Naing Oo for National Parliament and U Thein Soe for the People’s Parliament. The NUP candidate, U Nyan Win Swe will contest for the State Parliament from constituency No.2.

At the moment no polling stations have been set up in the region but local authorities have already appointed polling officers and agents.

“I think each village will have one polling station. School teachers have been appointed as polling officers to man polling stations,” a villager said.

According to one village headman, USDP organizers came to the village and demonstrated how to vote on October 4.

Critics said the ensuing election will not usher in any change but will legitimize the junta’s rule in the country.


Ten village-tracts to pay 40 lakh Kyat for barrack by KIC

22.october 2010

Ten village-tracts have been ordered to pay 40 lakh Kyat for constructing a military barrack in Kyauk Gyi Township, northern Nyaung Lay Bin district, Karen State. The order was issued by Zaw Myo Nyunt, Chairman of Kyauk Gyi Township on October 17. The barrack is meant for injured soldiers.

The village-tracts were to pay the money by October 20, according to the village headman.

“According to the chairman there will be four buildings constructed for injured soldiers. He wanted 40 lakhs Kyat from 10 village-tracts including our village. We had to pay this money by October 20. We have already sent some money and are still collecting from some villages,” he said.

The amount demanded is quite high. Some villagers who have farms and gardens can pay by the due date but daily wage earners cannot pay on time. Those unable to pay on time are facing many problems and have been threatened, the village headman said.

“We have past experience. If villagers cannot pay the demanded money on time they are restricted from travelling and threatened. Sometimes, the authorities accuse the villagers of having connection with the KNU and are fined. So, villagers are afraid and are trying to arrange the money as soon as possible,” he added.

There are 45 villages, including Pattalar, Innet, Lel Welgyi, Wel Ladaw, Kywetalin, Mamayar, Natthakwin, Htowaseik, Daungmo, and Kyauk Zayit village, which have to pay.

“Locals have faced a lot of problems in arranging for the money. Some families who have no money had to sell their gold and silver jewellery, farms and gardens making them daily wage earners,” he said.

Not only the township chairman but also the Burmese Army often asks for money from villagers. They also take porters from villages and force villagers to work in the military camp, according to locals.

NLD Movement October 2010 -WATCH IT!!!

ရန္ကုန္တိုင္း ေျမာက္ဥကၠလာပျမိဳ ့နယ္၊ (စ) ရပ္ကြက္ျမိဳ ့နယ္ NLD ပါတီရုံးအနီးတစ္၀ိုက္တြင္ ေအာက္တိုဘာလ (၂၁) ရက္ေန ့က ကိုခင္ေမာင္ဦး (ေျမာက္ဥကၠလာ) မွ တစ္ကိုယ္ေတာ္လွဳပ္ရွားမွဳအေနျဖင့္ ျပည္သူမ်ားအား နအဖေရြးေကာက္ပြဲဥပေဒအေႀကာင္း သိသာေစရန္ လက္ကမ္းစာေစာင္မ်ား ျဖန္ ့ေ၀ခဲ့ပါသည္။

ကိုခင္ေမာင္ဦး ျဖန္ ့ေ၀သည့္ အဆိုပါ နအဖေရြးေကာက္ပြဲဥပေဒအေႀကာင္း သိသာေစရန္အတြက္ လက္ကမ္းစာေစာင္မ်ားတြင္ နအဖတို ့၏ ေရြးေကာက္ပြဲဥပေဒပါ အခ်က္အလက္မ်ားကို ေဖၚျပထားျပီး ျပည္သူမ်ားအေနျဖင့္ မဲဆႏၵမေပးဘဲ ေနႏိုင္ေသာ အခြင့္အေရးလည္း ပါ၀င္ေႀကာင္း မီးေမာင္းထိုး အသိေပးထားျခင္း ျဖစ္သည္။

ပါတီလူငယ္မ်ား၊ ေက်ာင္းသားလူငယ္မ်ား၊ ဒီမိုကေရစီအင္အားစုမ်ားႏွင့္ သံဃာမ်ားမွ ျဖန္ ့ေ၀ အသိေပးေနေသာ လူထုအသိေပးလက္ကမ္းစာေစာင္မ်ားျဖစ္ျပီး လုပ္ေဆာင္ရျခင္း ရည္ရြယ္ခ်က္မွာ –

၁။ NLD ပါတီ တည္ရွိေနေသးေၾကာင္း လူထုမွ ပိုမိုသိရွိေနေစရန္ႏွင့္

၂။ နအဖေရြးေကာက္ပြဲဥပေဒမ်ားကို လူထုမွ သိရွိနားလည္၍ မွန္ကန္ေသာဆုံးျဖတ္ခ်က္မ်ား ခ်မွတ္နိင္ေစရန္ ျဖစ္သည္။

“ျပည္သူမ်ားအေနျဖင့္ မဲဆႏၵမေပးဘဲ ေနႏိုင္ေသာ အခြင့္အေရးလည္း ပါ၀င္ေႀကာင္း” နအဖ ေရြးေကာက္ပြဲဆိုင္ရာဥပေဒကိုယ္တိုင္က အတိအလင္း ေဖၚျပထားပါသည္။