Foreign envoys to view cyclone restoration work in Myanmar

By Xinhua,

Yangon : The Myanmar Foreign Ministry Tuesday organized trips for foreign diplomats and newsmen based in Yangon, taking them in three groups by helicopters to view restoration work in cyclone-hard-hit areas in Ayayawaddy delta region.

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These journeys, the first of its kind involving media, covered such areas as Phyapon, Dedaye, Laputta and Bogalay.

Led by Myanmar Deputy Foreign Minister U Kyaw Thu, the trip to Phyapon also involved the Japanese ambassador, the military attaches of the U.S. embassy, newsmen from Reuters and Xinhua news agencies.

Phyapon, once a cyclone-hard-hit township with over 1,200 people killed during a severe storm in early last May, was witnessed that the whole township has restored to the original face.

The group also viewed building of fishing boats for supply to local fishermen for the restoration of fishery undertakings.

The builders told newsmen that 20 boats were constructed daily and there has been 608 boats already completed so far.

Officials of the cyclone-hit township also briefed newsmen that it projected to re-cultivate 210,000 acres (85,050 hectares) of farmland, saying that up to now 160,000 acres (64,800 hectares) have been grown with paddy, meeting 76.12 percent of the target.

Flying from Phyapon to Dedaye, reconstruction works were seen underway in the post-cyclone period, especially the two villages of Kyondar and Toe in Dedaye township were seen added with new wooden houses that some victims have moved in.

According to official reports, Myanmar has put 2.2 million acres ( 891,000 hectares) of farmland under monsoon paddy update in cyclone-hard-hit Ayeyawaddy division as part of its second phase of restoration work dealing with recultivation after May storm.

The government’s National Disaster Preparedness Central Committee has also assigned a total of 30 private companies to undertake reconstruction work in 17 disaster-affected areas.

Deadly tropical cyclone Nargis, which occurred over the Bay of Bengal, hit five divisions and states -Ayeyawaddy, Yangon, Bago, Mon and Kayin on last May 2 and 3, of which Ayeyawaddy and Yangon inflicted the heaviest casualties and massive infrastructure damage.

A joint assessment report of Myanmar, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United Nations (UN) estimated the total damage and losses due to the cyclone storm at 4.4 to 4.5 trillion Kyats ( 4.02 to 4.13 billion U.S. dollars).

The report preliminary indicates that recovery needs will be at over one billion dollars over the next three years.

The storm has killed 84,537 people, leaving 53,836 missing and 19,359 injured according to the latest official death toll.