News/Photo: Phoe Taung
On 4 August, Kaing Gyi (Mro village) in Maungtaw Township was attacked by ARSA terrorists, which killed 8 villagers. On 25 August, another terrorist attack forced the Mro villagers to flee their village. With guidance from the State Counsellor, the Yangon Region Government and the Mon State Government are building a new village for the Mro people near Thandar Village in Maungtaw Township. The new village with have fifty houses and the Taninthayi Region government and people have donated a school building and a monastery.
The following are excerpts on 12 November from interviews with officials in charge of building the new Mro village.
Daw Nilar Kyaw, Yangon Region Minister for Electricity, Industry, Transportation
Q: Can you tell us how you will relocate the Mro people to the new village?
A: There are about 258 Mro people moving in to the village and there are fifty houses for them. Each house is 40×60 feet and is being constructed by local constructors. We will discuss with the Mro people for digging up a well, fencing the houses, paving roads and supplying electricity. We will have to use solar power here before we can connect them with the power grid. The Thaninthayi Region will provide funding for building a clinic and school here.
Q: Do you have an estimated time for when you’ll finish with the new village’s
A: We started this project in 19 October. Although in writing it says the Yangon Region Government is doing this project, the Mon State government is also aiding them. There are some difficulties with transporting items and hiring workers so depending on that the time of completion may change.
Q: Are there plans to help the Mro people in other ways?
A: There is another plan with the Yangon and Mon Government to build a 22 housing village in Pantawpyin near Mro.
U San Htun (Chairman)
Kaing Gyi, Mro village
Q: Where did you used to live? And can you tell us why you requested to have the new village built here?
A: We used to live in the deep forests in Mayu mountains, about 2 miles away from the nearest concrete road, and we are farmers by descent. Now we want a place that’s nearer the concrete roads after the terrorist attacks.
Q: So where are you living right now?
We’re just living in tents right now until the new village is completed. They said it will take one or two monthsQ: Did you have any students in your village before it was destroyed?
A: We had a self-made school made of bamboos and there were 42 students. We hired a teacher by paying them in paddy. After an elementary education we sent the students to a school three miles from here for further education.
Q: Can you tell us how you’re living now?
A: Right now we’re depending on rations and aid from the red cross and humanitarian organizations from Rakhine.
U Aung Htike
In charge of construction for Kaing Gyi Mro new village
Q: Do you have an expected completion date for this project?
A: We want to finish this as soon as possible so we want to use a lot of workers and equipment for this. We can’t really say for sure when we’ll finish due to transportation difficulties but we’re aiming for completion before the rainy season comes.
Q: Can you give some details of the layout of the new village?
A: We’re going to construct them according to the guidance of the Yangon Region government. The houses will each be 40×60 feet and the road leading into the village will be 60 feet long and the road around the village will be 50 feet long. We are also discussing plans for diverting rainwater.
Q: What is the thought process for designing the layout?
A: The first consideration is for the Mro people to live in peace. We hear that they will later add in a clinic, school and a monastery.
Q: How about that housing in Pantaw?
A: That is still in discussion. They said there will be 22 houses built there but due to security concerns we cannot go and survey the land.
(Translated by Zaw Htet Oo)