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Council man's harrowing work in Burma

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A senior highways engineer has been speaking about his relief work after the Burma cyclone.

"It was a harrowing time - and I will never forget the devastation and deep trauma etched on the faces of the villagers who survived (it)," says Hampshire CC's Highways Engineer, Paul Jawor.

During his four weeks in the delta Paul helped distribute food, water, plastic sheeting, and improved sanitation.

"One of the first jobs was to load 50 kilo bags of rice onto boats and deliver them around the delta. We distributed over one million kilos in this way along with as much clean water as we could lay our hands on," he explained.

"Once we had dealt with immediate basic needs we turned our attention to helping the villagers collect rain water and then we started to clean out the wells which had become contaminated with sea water. I had a Burmese man working alongside me as a translator and it was immensely satisfying that before I left I managed to fully train him to carry on with this work."

It was the mental distress of those who survived that touched Paul the deepest: "In areas totally flooded by the cyclone only the strongest swimmers survived. Many lost their entire families as well as their homes."

Since his return Paul, has been asked to talk about his work to various national and international groups including a reception at the humanitarian aid organisation RedR where HRH Princess Anne will be present.

The leader of Hampshire CC, Councillor Ken Thornber said: "Paul's experience in Burma echoes that of that of the award-winning Hampshire team of social workers who went out to Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the 2004 Asian Boxing Day Tsunami.

"We are proud that our staff have these skills and can make such a difference in emergencies like this whether at home or abroad."

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