A small recreational park in Kachin State was destroyed by fire, which was held by locals who were driven off their land several years ago to make way for the suspended Myitsone Dam.
The bamboo huts caught fire in the park in Myitkyina Township, according to one of the owners, Lu Ra. Other villagers assisted in putting out the fire that engulfed 28 of the huts. Lu Ra estimates that she has lost over $5,000.
“I erected my shops out of iron and bamboo.”
Her home in Aung Myin Thar was also destroyed by fire in 2013.
KNG has been unable to reach the other two business owners, La Htaw Hla and Ja Nan, at the time of publication.
Villagers are conducting an investigation in the hopes of learning more about what occurred. Nobody knows why the fires started or who is to blame.
The destruction of the huts is a major setback for the locals, who established the park to support their families after losing their farms to the Chinese-backed dam.
After the COVID-19 outbreak shuttered the park for three months, Naw Ja, the village headman of Aung Myint Tha, informed KNG in August 2020 that they sought the National League for Democracy administration for permission to reopen the park, which contains a stream, restaurants, and small stores. He explained that their livelihoods are dependent on being able to sell food and other things to visitors to the recreational area.
Despite not having had official approval, it reopened with 25 families running the shops and attracting hundreds of people each day while it stayed open. Nearly 100 families worked at the park when it originally opened.