Interview with a Ye Township flood victim

September 26, 2019

HURFOM: On 23 September 2019, Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) interviewed Nai Oo Lay, a flood victim from Thiri Nandar Quarter in Ye Township.

Que: What was the impact of flooding in Ye?

Ans: Yes! This time the flooding left a huge amount of destruction. As far as I know at least one house was lost — 3 to 5 lakh kyats. Some plantation owners who had stored rice and betel nut had to throw much of that away after it got soaked in water. That was another huge loss. If stored goods were not totally damaged, you can only get half the price for rice or betel nut after flood damage. Generally speaking, flood victims were able get back only half of what they lost.

Que: How many houses were affected?

Ans: About 380 houses were affected in our Quarter (Thiri Nandar). There are about 3,000 houses in total that were flooded in (Ye). However, according to a government statement only 1,000 houses were affected. I think this is because they (the authorities) did not ask every house in our Quarter. So the list from the government could be wrong.

Que: How (many houses) were affected across Ye?

Ans: There are 10 Quarters in Ye and 8 were covered under water. Water had reached more than 3,000 houses. Each household lost at least 3 lakh kyats (in material goods). That estimate would the most conservative or the least amount of loss, households suffered. There are a lot of losses still not fully accounted for. The shops on the river bank lost more than 100 lakh kyats. Shops selling electrical goods are estimated to have lost 1,000 lakh kyats in damages.

Que: How many houses were destroyed?

Ans: Local houses in the town did not get destroyed but some houses of migrant peoples were smashed. They do not own land so their houses were built on the alluvial lands which was quickly destroyed when flooded.

Que: How was the situation for the rescue team?

Ans: It was not bad. Migrants got more support than local people. Most of the Ye locals moved to their relative houses and did not go to rescue camps. Although some people lost more than a million kyat, they did not get any support. There are gaps in how the support has been administered.

Que: There have been many donors and charity groups making donations. So how was the situation for donors in Ye?

Ans: There has been a strong show of support from donors. We received rice and other foods. Mon and other ethnic groups from different areas came here.  Also, those who had to stay in camps received support.

Que: How was the help from the government?

Ans: We just saw a one time donation from them. We got 20,000 kyats and 2 (kg) of rice. Just one time. Nothing else. Many charity groups donated countless times. Until now (they) still come to donate.

Que: How much do you estimate each house received in donations.

Ans: As I said before, migrants got more… perhaps about 10 lakh kyats. Some Mon groups donated 1 lakh or 1.5 lakh kyats to each house. The rest of the donations were in the form of rice and food.

Que: How difficult was the situation for flood victims?

Ans: It has been normal for Ye to get flooded. But this time was enormous. There has been a huge loss of material goods like, stored rice, betel nut and most electronic devices were destroyed. In other years, flood waters did not reach many homes, but this time the flood water covered the roofs of homes. The water remained for 3 days and nights so that has also caused a lot of destruction.

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