ALL THEY COULD CARRY
The oceans rise, breeze turns to wind, whistle swells to a swirling typhoon, gathering and gushing, shaking and uprooting, hearth and home, village after village, kith and kin, young or old – whether a stationary tree or a howling animal, a wailing babe or the wilting aged – all as one swept aside. In one stroke, beyond reason. As the wild broke loose in an untamed spread of ruin, people fled – some cried, others choked in horror; some scampered in hope, while others crawled for mercy; scavenging for the last scraps of memory, in little pieces of frayed curio; united in defeat – against odds – uphill to scale, downhill to slide.
Survival has its mercies, and some of those are blessed - to be alive. To breathe again and feel again, the pain of the past and of the future filled with longing for those who once were.
A group of survivors huddled in a half built shopping center near Yangon. Like many others, the residents of the 7th ward of Hlaing Thayar township fled immediately. Their homes, made of bamboo and wood were torn from the ground by savage winds. The partially built Swethanlwin shopping complex acted as a small refugee centre outside of capital Yangon in Myanmar.
Their stories echo the plight of many hundreds of thousands of people whose homes are destroyed and now have only few belongings in the wake of Cyclone Nargis.