Fishermen dare not return to the sea

KHA PYAT THAUNG (Myanmar): Fishermen who saw much of their seasonal fishing village swept away by the Indian Ocean tsunami said yesterday they were too scared to return to sea, fearing a repeat of the deadly disaster. 

“We dare not go fishing yet,” said Mya Mya Win, 47, a mother of four who said she lost all her possessions when the killer waves struck on Dec 26. 

“We have had to share. That’s not to say that we are demanding assistance, but we have nothing to eat.”  

The tsunami killed 17 people, mostly children playing on the beach, when it hit this seasonal fishing village. 

The village, 352km southwest of the capital Yangon, sprang up barely a month ago as families built bamboo and thatch huts for the post-monsoon fishing season. 

“I do not want to ever see or hear of a disaster like this. I cried even though I am a mature man,” said U Thaung Sein, 54, whose daughter-in-law was killed by the tsunami. 

Fears ran so strong of a repeat of the undersea earthquake and giant waves that authorities were now worried about fires, as astrologers advised residents to light candles to ward off another quake. 

“The authorities are worrying about people’s safety because of these rumours. Most people have followed the astrologers’ advice by lighting candles in front of their homes at night to avert the earthquake,” said one woman in the town of Labutta. 

The death toll in the Labutta region stood at 22, while some 1,300 lost their homes, according to a Red Cross official. – AFP  

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