Page last updated at 16:13 GMT, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 17:13 UK

Burma cyclone: Eyewitness reports

Survivors queue for water supplies

About 22,000 people are now reported to have died in the cyclone that hit Burma on Saturday. Tens of thousands of homes have been destroyed and five regions, including the main city Rangoon, have been declared disaster zones. Communications have been badly affected, but the BBC has reached a few eyewitnesses, some of whom wished to remain anonymous.

Woman in Rangoon:

The whole area of Rangoon is like a cemetery, it looks very sad. All the trees around the house are uprooted or blown away and our house looks sad, standing in the middle of nowhere. It is like we are living in the middle of a cemetery.

Woman living in Thigangyun, in the north of Rangoon:

We need water, we need food! As long as we have rice, that will be enough. A mosquito net is not so important but we need clothes, blankets.

Their clothes are rain soaked and the huts they lived were built on bamboo stilts and now these are all destroyed.

An eyewitness just returned from Tunte, an impoverished town across the river from Rangoon:

I have not heard any thing about help. This is the nearest town to Rangoon. It is just across Hlaing river (in Rangoon). I have just returned from that area and I neither heard nor saw any rescue operation.

Man in Tunte:

Everything is destroyed. Some houses were blown away. The houses near the river were swept into the sea when they were hit by large vessels drifting along the river bank.

Tunte resident:

The worse affected area is Ward number nine on the other side of Kyimyindine (on the outskirts of Rangoon, by the river) where manual labourers live. There aren't any substantial building because it is a very poor area. But now the entire area of nine villages is completely destroyed.

Man on the road from Nay Pyi Taw:

On Friday evening I left Nay Pyi Taw [the new capital] to go to Hmawbi. I got to Htuankkyant, about 20 miles north of Rangoon at 6am on Saturday 3 May.

I was still there as the cyclone was hitting the area. I had to walk about 15 miles. All the way I saw trees lying felled on the Rangoon-Pyay road. There were no vehicles on the road that morning . Everything was damaged. It was the first time in my life that I had seen such damage.

Aerial view of Rangoon

Before I left, people told me not to go because of the cyclone, but I never expected what I found. Nobody in Myanmar [Burma] expected a disaster like this.

My friends in Rangoon have told me they are safe but they have big problems when it comes to transportation, work, water and power supplies. I can't always connect with them on the phone but I really want to know how they are. I have been told that prices of commodities have gone way up.

People are disappointed in the authorities for not accepting external aid and for not postponing the referendum. I know that ordinary people want to vote 'No' for the referendum. I see our prime minister on television handing out cash for the cameras.

The government is performing these ceremonies at a very important time, at a time when we need serious decisions and aid as soon as possible.


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