Military Apologizes for Damaged Flood Relief Items

By The Irrawaddy 5 August 2015

RANGOON — The Burma Army apologized late Tuesday for damaging air-dropped relief items after photographs of handfuls of rice mixed with mud went viral.

A widely shared Facebook post by Chit Hla Oo, also known as Maung Maung Htun, dated Aug. 4, showed villagers retrieving bags of rice dropped in a flooded paddy field from a military helicopter in Arakan State.

Photos of the rice show that mud had gotten into the sacks and ruined some of the goods.

On Tuesday, the military took to social media to express regret that goods had been damaged during delivery to “difficult” areas.

“We had to drop [relief items] from the air as it is difficult to make landings because we have no prior information about the landing ground,” read a post on the Commander-in-Chief’s Office Facebook page.

“We feel very sorry to learn that some relief items fell into the mud, and some [sacks] were broken. We are trying not to repeat that kind of incident.”

Figures from the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper on Tuesday said more than 200,000 people have been affected by the recent flooding, which has damaged more than 426,000 acres of farmland and destroyed some 56,000 more.

At least 46 flood-related deaths have been reported by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement as of late Tuesday, though the toll is expected to rise.