Tue 4 Jan 2005
Filed under: Inside Burma,News
Text of report by Burmese opposition radio Democratic Voice of Burma web site on 3 January
The death toll from the tsunami waves that hit Burma on 26 December is estimated to be at least over 400, according to reliable sources. Most of those who lost their lives are Salon people who live in the sea and fishermen from Irrawaddy Division. A person who does not want to be identified and who visited Lampi Island where most Salon people live told DVB (Democratic Voice of Burma) that almost 200 people were missing from that island alone.
He said although the extent of damage on the island was not severe, almost 200 Salon people who went out to sea have not yet returned until now. All Salon family members already assume that their missing relatives are dead. They told the visitor that Salon people can withstand regular storms but not Tsunami waves.
Another fishing schooner owner, who also does not wish to be identified, said he saw destruction on other small islands. Fishing schooner owners say most of the fishing boats that left Labutta, Bogale, Moulmeingyun, Pyapon, Bassein, and other townships of Irrawaddy Division have not returned until now and the missing boats could not be contacted.
A fishing schooner owner from Labutta who does not wish to be identified said almost 100 small and large fishing boats have not returned yet. He believed that the boats had sunk and crew members manning these boats had died at sea. However, SPDC (State Peace and Development Council) authorities in Irrawaddy Division are refusing to confirm the news until now. We have learned that the tsunami waves caused damages on Tha Htay Kyun casino resort for foreigners. In this connection, we contacted DVB correspondent Maung Maung Hein in Ranong:
(Begin recording) (DVB) U Maung Maung Hein, we understand that the Tha Htay Kyun Island was also hit by tsunami waves. What do you know about the extent of destruction and casualties there?
(Maung Maung Hein) From the information in hand, we are not certain about the casualty figures for foreigners and staff workers there. But, what we know is that the water level rose above the swimming pool reserved for foreigners and flowed into the bedrooms of the hotel. The water rose knee-high and destroyed the furniture and other valuable property inside the Tha Htay Kyun Hotel.
(DVB) U Maung Maung Hein, we understand that Salon people regularly come to your area, so how is the situation on Salon islands?
(Maung Maung Hein) What we understand is that no one living on the islands died but the Salon boats that went out to sea are still missing.
(DVB) I see. What sort of relief programmes are the authorities undertaking?
(Maung Maung Hein) Presently, we have only heard the news about Divisional Commander Maj-Gen Ohn Myint inspecting the region. Until now, we have not heard anything about the assistance rendered, or the casualty figures, or the relief work they will be undertaking. (End of recording)
That was a report by DVB correspondent Maung Maung Hein.