Burma Takes Precautions to Avoid SEA Games Blackouts
By Htet Naing Zaw 30 October 2013
RANGOON — Lacking confidence in the national power supply system, Burma’s Ministry of Sports will use generators for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Southeast Asian Games in Naypyidaw in December.
The director of the ministry’s Public Affairs and Education Department said a sudden blackout during the regional sporting event would be a disgrace to the country’s dignity, as it hosts the Games for the first time in decades.
“We won’t use the national grid because there may be blackouts during the opening and closing ceremonies. We will use generators,” Htay Aung told The Irrawaddy, adding that nearly 20 generators would be online one hour in advance of the ceremonies.
Burmese Vice President Sai Mauk Kham, who supervises the SEA Games Organizing Committee, reportedly ordered the ministries to be flawless during the Games, saying that if an error occurred to stain the country’s image, the highest ranking official and others from the responsible ministry would lose their jobs.
“The vice president has ordered us not to give the county a bad name during the Games,” an official from the Ministry of Sports said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “If something bad happens, a series of ministers will be fired.”
Apart from the Ministry of Sports, the ministries of hotels and tourism, home affairs, transport, electric power and others are organizing the Games
With 42 days to go before the event kicks off, a nationwide one-hour power cut occurred on Tuesday evening. The Yangon City Electricity Supply Board (YESB) said a fault in the national grid had caused the power outage.
The SEA Games will be held in Naypyidaw, Rangoon, Mandalay and Ngwe Saung. Each location has reportedly been stocked with generators.
The chief engineer of YESB, Nyan Lin, said four stadiums in Rangoon had been prioritized to receive regular electricity during the Games, and in the event of a power cut generators would come online automatically.
“We have prepared the generators,” he said.
Recently during a pre-SEA Games international hockey competition in Rangoon, a blackout left players and attendees in darkness for five minutes.