Friday, August 18, 2017

China offers to help Myanmar with water management

China has extended an offer to assist Myanmar with a large-scale project to prevent natural disasters, says the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement.

Chinese ambassador to Myanmar Hong Liang met with Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement U Win Myat Aye in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.  

“Our country has suffered natural disasters each year because of global climate change and as a consequence of the country’s ecosystem changing, including forest depletion, rivers becoming silted-up, and [the weakening over time of] dams and irrigation canals,” U Win Myat Aye said.

“Now China has come to discuss this and told us they will give as much help as they possibly can,” he said.

Mr Hong heard about the need for rehabilitation of flood-affected areas, and says China will continue to provide assistance.

“Myanmar suffers flooding almost every year. When we investigated the cause of this natural disaster, we found that it concerns river management. During Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit [to China last week], the two governments made an agreement that we will cooperate on a management plan for the Ayeyarwady River,” he said.

China’s deputy minister of commerce visited Nay Pyi Taw yesterday, and was scheduled to meet with officials to discuss implementation of agreements made between the two countries. During State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s landmark visit to Beijing, China pledged to provide 1 billion yuan, or around US$150 million, for disaster relief.

“We will fix causes of this nationwide natural disaster and China said they want to help us in implementing such large-scale projects,” U Win Myat Aye told reporters.

Meanwhile, the Chinese embassy in Myanmar and two Chinese companies donated K40 million (US$33,000) to flood victims at the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement yesterday.

Half of the cash came from the embassy, with the State Power Investment Corporation and Huawei Myanmar also contributing K10 million apiece. The embassy’s money came through donations from staff members, the ambassador said.

“China and Myanmar are pauk phaw [brotherhood] friends and it is a good custom to face the disaster together,” said Mr Hong. “Our suffering is equal to Myanmar’s and we want to help Myanmar just like before.”

Weather conditions exacerbated by El Niño have caused flooding throughout China this year and relief operations are being carried out, but Myanmar and Chinese citizens are equal, he said.

“The donation will support the emergency aid and resettlement operations for flood victims,” said U Win Myat Aye.

Translation by San Layy and Zar Zar Soe