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Home arrow Human Interest arrow Local arrow A mercy dash to aid devastated Myanmar
A mercy dash to aid devastated Myanmar PDF Print E-mail
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Human Interest - Local
Written by The Northern Advocate   
Tuesday, 17 June 2008

More than 10,000 people were killed and 95 per cent of homes were destroyed in Bogalay. Picture/supplied

A Whangarei couple back from giving medical aid to cyclone victims in Myanmar tell reporter Mike Barrington about the pitiful conditions endured by survivors, for whom a fundraiser is planned on July 5.

When Cyclone Nargis slammed into Myanmar on May 3, millions of people on the Irrawaddy Delta - the country's low-lying "rice bowl" - hunkered down to wait for the storm to pass.

Whangarei GP Alice Ohnmar said when the flimsy homes began filling with flood water they took their only option for survival - they pushed their children up through a hole in the ceiling then followed them on to the roof.

But the darkness of the 12-hour cyclone, with its 215km/h winds, brought horror on a scale outside living memory.

Many people didn't find their families on the roofs. They had been blown away in the worst natural disaster in the country since 1926, when a storm killed about 2700 people.

Corpses could later be seen floating by the thousands alongside the bodies of water buffalo in a lake of seawater inundating hundreds of square kilometres of rice paddies.

Dr Ohnmar now works at Primecare and Dr Win at the Ngunguru Medical Centre.

Dr Ohnmar and her husband Dr Zaw Win, who made a mercy dash from Whangarei to their former homeland, returned last week with video evidence of the death, destruction and desperate plight of survivors without shelter or food.

It will be screened at a Whangarei fundraiser, organised by the two doctors, for the cyclone victims.

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