Power Outages and Water Shortage Grips Myanmar Capital of Yangon

Residents of Yangon, Myanmar’s commercial capital city, queued for water on Monday as rolling power outages aggravate the economic misery brought about by last year’s military coup.

“We can use charcoal for cooking, but we can’t live without water,” said Ko Aung as he queued with around 30 others next to a water bowser visiting his northeastern neighborhood in the city.

Last week the junta announced a further reduction of the country’s already patchy power supply for seven days, blaming rising gas prices and attacks by anti-coup fighters on infrastructure.

Volunteers and charity organizations said they receive hundreds of calls from residents every day, asking for water.

“Since the beginning of March, we have been receiving 150-200 calls each day from people asking us to supply water… today we are giving water to about 3000 households,” said Htun Htun, head of a volunteer team delivering water.

“Water supply has completely halted in some wards for nearly a week. Some residents can’t pump water although they have electricity,” the chairman of the Shin Than Yay (Noble Heart) charity U Tun Tun Oo said.

Earlier, Yangon’s power supplier warned customers of power cuts if they continued not paying their bills as part of a boycott that has hit junta coffers.

According to reports, thousands of civil servants have walked out in protest against the regime, leaving schools, universities, and hospitals empty, and the State Administration Council, as the junta calls itself, struggling to issue bills or collect taxes.


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