Monday, March 25, 2013

Meiktila ‘like a war zone’ in aftermath of rioting


Monday, 25 March 2013 13:41 Khaing Khaing

An uneasy calm returned to the streets over the weekend following the declaration of a State of Emergency in Meiktila, Wundwin, Mahlaing and Thazi townships in Mandalay Region on March 22.

However, according to sources who spoke to Mizzima, many neighborhoods in Meiktila have been left destroyed or severely damaged from last week’s communal violence.

Thiha, a member of the 88 Generation Students group, who travelled to Meiktila to assist in calming the situation, told Mizzima that “Troops have been deployed throughout the town. Since Saturday morning the situation has returned to normal. However, the town looks like the aftermath of a war zone.”

He estimated that some 6,000 Muslims were being sheltered at the local football stadium, and that Meiktila’s monasteries had taken in about 1,500 or 2,000 people.  

But about 1,000 to 1,800 residents of Chanaye Quarter, which was burnt down on Friday, were sleeping in open-air fields.

Thiri, one of the displaced victims of the rioting in Chanaye Quarter, said all the houses in her neighborhood had been razed to the ground. She said that some members of the local police force had visited the homeless from Chanaye, but they had not given the victims any assistance.

Residents in Meiktila said those who lost their homes now had to depend on food and water handouts from charity organizations. Some clinics were reportedly burned down too, so access to medicine and treatment is made even more difficult.

Dr. San Hlaing, a resident in Meiktila, said on Saturday: “The whole town was destroyed, but the authorities have so far done nothing. The most important thing we need is toilets.”
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