Fire Destroys Hundreds of Homes in Tenasserim Division’s Palaw Township

By Yen Saning 15 February 2016

RANGOON — A fire broke out on Saturday in Kyauk Kar village in Tenasserim Division’s Palaw Township, destroying 331 homes, according to a rescue official.

Sources report that houses in the island village, located about two hours by boat from Palaw Township, were ablaze for approximately five hours.

“The cause of the fire is still unknown. All we know is that negligence was involved,” Nay Myo Htun, an officer in the rescue and resettlement department in Tenasserim Division, told The Irrawaddy.

Local charities and social organizations are donating to fire victims, and the divisional rescue and resettlement department has said that it will provide 100,000 kyats (US$81) and home utensils to each affected household. More than 1,500 people were reportedly affected.

“The divisional government will provide 20 lakhs [2 million kyat] to each household for rebuilding purposes, while the rescue and resettlement department will provide 50 sheets of iron to renovate roofs,” said Nay Myo Htun.

Houses will be rebuilt according to locals’ wishes, he added, and if those affected ask the government to arrange for household repairs, arrangements will be made with contractors.

KBZ’s Brighter Future Myanmar Foundation released a statement on Sunday saying that it had donated 3 lakhs [300,000 kyat] to each household to be used for home repairs and to recover lost items.

Officials in Tenasserim Division and indeed across Burma are working to raise awareness among citizens of important fire prevention measures. The country has already faced a series of fires since the beginning of the year, including a massive blaze in January at Rangoon Division’s Mingalar Market that destroyed 1, 636 shops and another fire earlier this month that displaced over 1,200 residents in Namhsan Township in northern Shan State.

In a letter sent to Rangoon’s Kawhmu Township administrative office on Monday, National League for Democracy chairwoman Aung San Suu Kyi warned administrators to be vigilant regarding fire safety, including checking the electrical wiring of buildings and ensuring fire extinguishers are in public spaces as well as in homes.

The Irrawaddy’s Nyein Nyein contributed reporting.