Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Bottles keep Pyay relief effort afloat

By Khin Su Wai   |   Tuesday, 04 August 2015
A former sailor has come to the rescue of flood victims in Pyay by building a boat out of plastic bottles. Ko Aung Set Paing, 41, has been using the boat to deliver food and supplies to people trapped by the flooding, which has ravaged much of the country over the past few days. The boat is made out of 500 plastic bottles used for his company’s energy drink.
Volunteers use Ko Aung Set Paing’s boat to get around the flooded town of Pyay in western Bago Region. Photo: SuppliedVolunteers use Ko Aung Set Paing’s boat to get around the flooded town of Pyay in western Bago Region. Photo: Supplied
“When I realised I could build this boat I decided to do it,” he told The Myanmar Times. “I worked as a sailor in my parents’ company till I was 25 years old. But I never thought my knowledge of boats would come in useful like this.”
Ko Aung Set Paing is regional manager for Myanmar Distribution Group in Pyay. “One of our company’s products is an energy drink. When I distributed samples to customers, I collected the empty bottles. They are quite small, and it takes about 500 bottles to make a boat, but if you use 1-litre drinking water bottles you will only need about 300,” he said.
The boat also needs metal grille-work and electrical cables, and cost about K100,000 to make. It can carry four or five people with lifejackets and has been used to deliver packages, including noodles and other necessities.
“It’s safe and can be fitted with an outboard motor for use in calm water. But then it will carry only two people,” he said.
He said the boat came into its own when the rains descended and the floodwaters rose. “It was really needed. We saved people. Mostly we carried fried noodles and foodstuff,” he said, adding, “Today I donated this boat to an aid group in Pyay. They really liked it.”
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