YANGON — The death of a 13-year-old boy by electrocution in Yangon has prompted calls for accountability and safety measures in the city to prevent similar incidents from recurring.
Maung Myo Min Tun, also known as Pouk Soh, from Yangon’s South Okkalapa Township, died on Friday evening after stepping on a fallen wire lying in a pool of water along Thanthumar Road while walking with his friend near his home.
Daw Thit Thit Myint, a regional lawmaker from South Okkalapa Township, said neighbors phoned the township electricity department about the fallen wire earlier that afternoon, but the department failed to fix it in time.
“It is because of their negligence, not because the boy was unfortunate. The boy died because they didn’t cut the power and fix it,” she said.
Photos of the body lying face down in the pool next to the busy road and CCTV footage of the incident from a nearby house were posted online and sparked outrage from some netizens.
Ko Than Zaw Aung, a lawyer, wrote on his page that the authorities must do more than cover the family’s funeral expenses and take responsibility for the incident.
Some social media users have also started an online campaign demanding accountability by changing their profile pictures to an illustration of the dead boy lying face down in the pool of water with the caption, “Sorry mom, I can’t come back home today.”
Daw Thit Thit Myint said Yangon Region Electricity Minister Daw Nilar Kyaw visited the family on Sunday ahead of the funeral. She said the minister acknowledged the department’s negligence and expressed her sorrow for the loss.
According to Daw Thit Thit Myint, the minister also said that authorities were forming an ad hoc committee to investigate the incident starting Monday.
She said Yangon Region lacked the budget to repair and adequately maintain all the city’s power lines.
“Maintenance is not needed only in Yangon but in other cities as well. We already asked about that in Parliament, and the answer we got is that they don’t have enough funds,” she said, adding that she would continue to press the issue.
Daw Nyo Nyo Thin, a former Yangon Region lawmaker, said the Union Ministry of Electricity and Energy must allocate enough funds for the city to fix its broken power lines as a matter of public safety.
She said the regional government should not complain about lacking funds to fix broken wires when it was planning to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a few new vehicles.
Daw Aye Aye Myint, the dead boy’s mother, told The Irrawaddy that her only hope was that no other child suffer the same fate.
“I have lost my son. They promised they won’t be careless next time,” she said. “I hope they are not.”