Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Local Authorities Borrow Rice and Medicine to Show as Cyclone Relief

Maungdaw (Narinjara): Authorities in Maungdaw Township have borrowed rice and medicine from local traders to show as Nargis relief aid when the new western commander visits Maungdaw, reported one trader who had his rice borrowed.

He said, "The authorities from the township and district administrative offices came to my house yesterday to borrow 25 sacks of rice from me to show to the new western command commander as Nargis relief when he arrives in Maungdaw. The authorities told me that the rice will be returned to me when the commander leaves Maungdaw."

Many rice traders in Maungdaw are wary of lending their rice to the authorities as they fear that it will not be returned to them as promised.

The new western commander, Major General Pyi Son, has been doing his tours around Arakan State since the first week of July after he was promoted to the position, and he is expected to visit Maungdaw on 7 or 8 July.

The authorities in Maungdaw want to show large scale donations of goods for relief from the people of Maungdaw in order to get in good favor with the new western command commander.

"I heard the authority wants to record the goods on video and camera as Nargis relief in front of the new western command commander to propagate the news story in state-run media, including TV and newspapers," the resident said.

The authorities have also borrowed medicine packages from pharmacies to show as relief aid to the new western commander.

One owner of a pharmacy shop said, "We do not want to lend medicine to the authority but I am unable to avoid it because the authority could withdraw my license from me if I refuse."

The authorities in Maungdaw have gathered the many rice bags and medicine inside the town hall to display to the new western command commander as donated relief goods.

The western command commander reportedly arrived yesterday at Buthidaung a few miles east of Maungdaw, but he is unable to travel to Maungdaw today as the road between the two towns has been blocked by landslides and collapsed bridges after heavy rains in the region. #

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