Homes Levelled by Storm in Mon State

By Lawi Weng 9 January 2019

An unseasonal storm hit Kalegauk Island in Ye Township, Mon State on Tuesday causing damaged to more than 300 houses, according to local sources.

Some members of the Mon State government, including Nai Aung Naing Oo, vice house speaker of the local parliament, traveled by boat to the Island after the storm on Tuesday to inspect the damage done to the village.

Most families living on the island of about 500 households are ethnic Mon who earn a living from fishing. The storm hit at approximately 7 a.m. yesterday and locals say this is the first time their village has experienced such storm damage.

“We found houses, schools, electricity poles and monasteries destroyed. When we were there, locals were still compiling a list of the houses which were damaged,” said Nai Aung Naing Oo.

“We estimate that at least 300 houses were damaged,” he added.

Many trees were knocked down by the storm, with some landing on houses. Electricity poles have fallen on the street. A large number of the houses suffered damage to parts of their structures, while many of them completely collapsed.

“We estimated that 50 houses were totally destroyed, so locals have to build replacements for those,” said Nai Aung Naing Oo.

Fortunately, no one was injured, he said.

Nai Taung Shein, chairman of Kalegauk Island told Mon Era News, a local Mon-language news page on Facebook, that the storm hit at 7:40 a.m.

“We first saw firstly red [in the sky] near our village.  Then it became dark and the storm hit our village,” he said.

“It only lasted 15 minutes but it destroyed a lot,” he added.

Members of the Mon State government will travel to the island on Wednesday to give relief funding to the storm victims. The government will provide $19,500 (30 million kyats) to the victims.

“Our government already discussed the donation. They have a budget for natural disasters,” said Nai Aung Naing Oo.

Some local volunteers will also travel to the island on Wednesday to help the storm victims. Mon community leaders, including Buddhist monks, formed a committee to organize aid for the victims. The committee is collecting money from local Mon and Mon people overseas to help the islanders recover from the storm.