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Burma: Commodity Prices Soar After Cyclone Nargis

Commodity Prices Soar After Cyclone

May 5, 2008 - The price of rice and other commodities has soared due to shortages following the cyclone that hit Burma over the weekend, further exacerbating the humanitarian crisis brought on by the natural disaster. A Rangoon resident said the price of rice and other basic goods had risen sharply since the cyclone hit.

"Prices are soaring now. A bag of peanuts used to be 200 kyat, and now it is more than 500," he said, "When I went to buy rice today, it was 1700 kyat for one pyi [around 250 millilitres]. It used to be 1000."

The resident said buying rice was a particular problem because of the damage done to rice stores during the cyclone, and people had been queuing to buy it.

"The problem with rice now is that quite a lot of rice boats were sunk. Quite a lot of rice depots in Irrawaddy Division burst open. Rice bags were swept away in the water as the water level rose," he said.

"I went to the market today, and only one rice shop was open. The remaining shops were closed," he went on.

"Even in that one, I had to plead a lot to buy it at 1700 for one pyi."

The resident also said people were facing problems with food and water supplies.

The Burmese regime has appealed for emergency aid from other countries for disaster relief, but locals have complained the government has so far done little to help the victims of the cyclone or deal with the damage caused.

Reporting by Nan Kham Kaew


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