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Burma cyclone: Eyewitness reports

Some of the devastation in Rangoon ( image from Democratic voice of Burma/ AP)
Eyewitnesses report widespread disruption in Rangoon
Cyclone Nargis has devastated southern areas of Burma, leaving thousands dead and many more displaced.

Communications have been badly affected, as five regions, including Rangoon, have been declared disaster zones.

Eyewitnesses, some of whom wished to remain anonymous, contacted the BBC via the news website.

Elderly resident of Rangoon:

I haven't seen anything like this in my whole life.

Ex-Swedish government minister Jens Orback, who was in Rangoon when the cyclone struck:

Even in our hotel we couldn't move because of glass falling. We could see trees which must have been standing 100 years falling down.

For the first 10 to 12 hours there was no help from the authorities. There were no policemen and no military on the streets but people were privately out there with their handsaws chopping the trees.

Resident of Laputta township, Irrawaddy:

In Laputta, 75-80% of the town has been destroyed. Most of the houses have the roofs blown out and smashed.

Houses in the residential districts just remain as the skeleton structures.

Out of town, 16 villages along the coast have been virtual wiped out. They say nobody is helping.

Resident of Hlaing Thar Yar, near Rangoon:

Not a single house has escaped the storm. Some houses just totally collapsed.

The local authorities are giving shelter to people in the religious centres.

There are now very few buses going into the city and the ones that are running have put up their prices fivefold. Also, the price of corrugated iron to replace our roofs and even nails has skyrocketed.

Woman in Rangoon:

I don't want to say much but the monks are doing all the clearing up.

I've seen about 200 monks in Kemmedine township, and the same number in Sanchaung township, clearing the fallen trees and leading work parties.

The USDA [the civilian arm of the military junta] have turned up but they're not really doing anything - they're just standing around.

Shari Villarosa, US Charge d'Affaires in Rangoon:

There's no electricity, very limited communications, water is lacking in many neighbourhoods.

After about noon, the skies cleared up and everybody came out and were just stunned.

People on my compound who had been there for 15 years told me they had never seen anything like this here, ever.

Man in Rangoon:

Rangoon is completely cut-off - no water, the roads are blocked. It's difficult to travel, everything has become so expensive.

I think the main water supply has dried up. Even if we use our own pumps we can't get any water out of the mains. We can't even take a shower.

Amit Singh, who was in Rangoon a day after the cyclone struck:

There was water all over in the outskirts, and even inside the city, huge trees had just fallen on the road, windows were smashed.

We saw houses without any roofs, there were electricity poles all across the road. All services had just shut down.


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