Monday, December 17
I was on holiday in Myanmar for most of November and spent part of that time on a river boat, the Pandaw Katha, cruising down the Irrawaddy. While I was there a magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck the Shwebo region of Central Myanmar on 11 November 2012. A bridge underconstruction near the village of Nwe Nyein collapsed and buildings in the village were damaged.
Our boat was about 500 metres from the bridge when the earthquake struck and we saw the bridge fall.
The general manager of Pandaw in Myanmar, John Arkell, and our tour guide Daniel Townsend, went to the village to see what help we could provide. They found many of the buildings had been damaged and villagers were too frightened to go back inside so were sitting in groups on the open ground. The school was one of the buildings damaged but fortunately it was a Sunday and children weren't there.
The boat passengers raised about US$1000 and Daniel and John took that back to the village and handed it over to the headman. Villagers then used it to buy food and organise cooking areas and utensils and get material for shelters.