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Up to 4,000 fishermen from Pyapon missing in storms

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Around 4,000 fishermen from the Pyapon area may have lost their lives in vicious storms that struck Irrawaddy Division last week, according to Win Kyaing, the general secretary of the Myanmar Fisheries Federation.

A Burmese boat which rescued  survivors who were adrift at sea after a storm on March 15 in the harbor at Kawthaung in Taninsarim Division on Monday, March 21, 2011. A state-run newspaper reported that 230 survivors were given refuge in the local high school. Photos: Mizzima & NLD (Kawthaung branch)Win Kyaing said in a meeting held by the Myanmar Fisheries Federation on Tuesday that the 4,000 fishermen represent about 2,000 fishing rafts that were lost in storms from March 14 to 17, according to a reporter who attended the meeting.

The number of dead or missing is difficult to determine, said authorities.

‘His estimation of the missing is based on the total number of rafts. There are about 1,500 registered rafts and 500 unregistered rafts [in the area]. A raft can carry around three people each. That’s why he estimated that more than 4,000 people are missing’, the reporter said. The rafts are manned by fisherman who go out daily to catch fish and work their nets.

A spokesperson from the Fishery Department in Pyapon District told Mizzima that almost all the fishing rafts in Pyapon District were lost or damaged, but only about 50 percent of the fishing nets were damaged. 

‘We can’t tell the exact number of casualties because we still don’t have enough confirmed information. Some victims may have returned to their homes by their own means’, the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, state-run newspapers said on Wednesday that 17 fishing vessels and about 800 rafts were destroyed in storms from March 14 to March 17, and a total of 3,638 victims had been rescued. The newspapers did not cite a figure for the number of fishermen who lost their lives in the storms or are missing.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 24 March 2011 19:26 )  

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