Eyewitness Account

Eyewitness Account

Christian Aid is a UCC partner through the ACT International alliance.

A Christian Aid partner in Burma has described the devastation left after Cyclone Nargis swept through the country.

She cannot be named for security reasons, but works for a partner in the Irrawaddy delta which was one of the worst hit areas.

'Pyinsalu Island in the Irrawaddy delta was hit by a high tide of 15 to 28 feet,' she said. 'Of 40,000 people it was estimated that only a quarter survived. Eighty per cent of Labutta township has been destroyed.

'The whole island of Hynegyi Island is flooded – with 90,000 of the 100,000 population homeless. The whole of Kaing Thaung island is flooded but most inhabitants could be saved.

'Many townships are totally destroyed with much loss of life and infrastructure.

'Electricity supplies are cut off, while diesel, natural gas and petrol are unavailable.

'Drinking water is the most pressing need besides food, shelter and medicine. Prices of these and building materials - timber, zinc sheet roof, canvas, plastic sheets - have sky rocketed.

'In one of our project sites, Haigyi Township in Irrawaddy 2,000 households have been damaged and more than 9,000 people have lost all their possessions.

'In Rangoon, big trees collapsed on the nearby houses. Due to collapsed trees and heavy winds, telephone poles as well as electric pylon were also destroyed. As a result, telephone lines as well as internet connections are down.

'Our office was also damaged. Roofs have been blown off and the ceilings have fallen down. Consequently, most of our computers are no longer working at the moment due to the damage.

'Our team is in the field is continuing to investigate the ground situation in our project area.'