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The delta's forgotten people

Latest update : 2008-05-23

As UN chief Ban Ki-moon visits Burma, FRANCE 24's Anaïs Boussat and Alice Beaumont report from the Irrawaddy delta, where entire villages have been stripped of all sources of livelihood, their traumatized inhabitants still in a state of shock.

Ban Ki-moon in Burma to press for relief operations 


Nearly three weeks after Cyclone Nargis pummeled Burma, the Burmese authorities are still carefully filtering international aid, abandoning an already vulnerable population to their own fates. In the particularly devastated Irrawaddy Delta, they are more than two million people living under particular duress.


Reporting from Burma, FRANCE 24’s special correspondents Anaïs Boussat and Alice Beaumont say there are still corpses floating in flooded rice plantations across the delta. “Our priority is to find food and a roof,” said one hapless victim. “After that, we will deal with the corpses.”


In a village located 500 meters from the sea, the villagers waited five days before the government sent them a half-kilo of rice package per person, while private donations have just begun to trickle in. Rice is the Burmese staple and a vital food source for the inhabitants of the impoverished Southeast Asian nation.


The villagers have lost all their livestock. Their fishing boats were carried off by the cyclone and their rice plantations were flooded by sea water. “Because of the immensity of the disaster, we have lost everything,” laments a villager. “Me, I survived,” said another, “but I have no idea what I feel - joy or sadness.”


Despite the destruction, none of the villagers want to leave the region. “We need to stick together,” said one survivor, “and then the refugee camps are so far, we do not even know how to get there.”

Date created : 2008-05-22