The Myanmar Times
The Myanmar Times

Residents converge on Chaungtha for seminar

More than 500 people attended a natural disaster mitigation and environmental education talk held at Chaungtha beach in Ayeyarwady Region earlier this month, organisers said last week.

The talk was arranged by the Myanmar Hoteliers Association (Chaungtha Zone) and was held at Hotel ACE Village on May 1, association spokesperson U Nyi Nyi Aung said.

Many of the 500 participants were residents from seven villages near the beach, he said.

Association secretary U Maung Maung Htwe said that because of its location Chaungtha was susceptible to storms that form in the Bay of Bengal.

“We want residents of coastal areas to have knowledge about how they should prepare for natural disasters and how they can best manage the situation. We expect that [participants] will also share their awareness with other people in their communities,” he said.

U Ohn, vice president of Forest Resource Environ-ment Development and Conservation Association and Dr Tun Lwin, former Director General of Depart-ment of Meteorology and Hydrology spoke at the event about environmental issues including storms, tsunamis, climate change and man-grove forest conservation.

“I was interested to attend today’s event because at Chaungtha we experienced the Malar storm in 2006 and Cyclone Nargis also hit our country in 2008,” said U Myint Naing, a trader from Ou To village, which is about a 45-minute walk from Chaungtha. “There are about 20 people from our village here and we plan share what we learned with our community and pass around the booklet we were given about storm disaster prevention.”

Some attendees, like 75-year-old U Chit Htwe, came from further away. The resident of Ma Gyi Sin village, which is a four-hour boat ride from the beach, expressed his thanks to organisers for the event, saying it was the first environmental and natural disaster education activity that had been held at Chaungtha.

U Min Shwe, a farmer from Shwe Thaung Yan sub-township, about 15 kilometres (9 miles) from the beach, said he was pleased to see speakers address the need to preserve mangrove forests. “Many forests in my township have disappeared because people want the land for cashew nut plantations,” he said.

People who attended to the event also observed a minute’s silence for the victims of Cyclone Nargis, which hit the Ayeyarwady delta on May 2 and 3, 2008.