Five years on from Cyclone Nargis – Shne Nay Lin Aung’s story

13 May 2013   |   Blog   |   Myanmar   |   Long-term Development   |   Emergency Relief

Tags:  anniversary, Cyclone Nargis, shelter, education   |   No comments

Shne Nay Lin Aung with his family

By Rosemary Pikko, Emergency Coordinator of Karuna Myanmar Social Services (KMSS) – Caritas’ local partner in Burma/ Myanmar

Tayoke Kone village in Labutta township is located in the Irrawaddy Delta region of Myanmar. An area known for monsoonal winds and rains, it was one of the hardest hit by Cyclone Nargis in 2008.

Five years after Nargis, as the local people still struggle to recover their livelihoods, they tell that gradually their lives and community are getting better and returning to normal.

President of the Village Disaster Management Committee (VDMC), Shne Nay Lin Aung, said “in the years previous to Nargis we just kept to ourselves in our own village but now you see more people coming and going between our neighbouring villages.”

“Tayoke Kone just seems more busy and like a real town now compared to before Nargis,”

Housing and shelter

“The days after Nargis hit, no one recognized our village nor any of the surrounding villages in Labutta,” he said. “Our whole area was flattened! The monastery was not destroyed, so many of us took refuge there. But most everyone in Tayoke Kone lost everything.”

One of the biggest needs in the immediate days after Nargis was shelter. Shne Nay Lin Aung said “We are so grateful for all the organizations who came to help us! There was a lot of help to get back our shelter. Several organizations came to our aid with different kinds of support, and all families have housing now. KMSS also showed us how to rebuild our houses better than before.”

Schooling and education

Shne Nay Lin Aung said that in the first years after Nargis, many children had to stay home to help support their families’ livelihoods, while some children were too afraid to leave their homes, especially during rainy season!”

To increase the local people’s awareness about the importance of children’s education, KMSS has included early childhood and care development into their programs.

Tayoke Kone just seems more busy and like a real town now compared to before Nargis."

Shne Na Lin Aung explained that before these programs began, many children would only finish primary school. This was due to the middle school being an hour away, and parents not being able to afford the fees.

“But now we see a number of families see that education is important, so they find their ways and means to get their children to middle school. More children are in school now than before Nargis.”

Read more:
Cyclone Nargis and Caritas' response
Five years on from Cyclone Nargis [Blog: 6 May 2013]

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