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Another child dies in latest electrocution incident

The scene of a fatal electrocution that claimed the life of a 16-year-old boy on 24 May 2016. (Photo: Kalayar Sukyi / Facebook)

A seven-year-old girl in Magwe is the latest person in Burma to be electrocuted after stepping in a puddle, according to a report by state media on Monday.

The child, Nan Htet, died late last week while she was helping her mother collect plastic bottles near the intersection of Natmauk and 19th streets in the Magwe Division capital, The Global New Light of Myanmar reported.

“On Friday morning, we walked through Ywathitpwekyo Ward to collect used plastic water bottles on the street. My daughter went to a small puddle to wash her legs, and then she died,” said the girl’s mother, Thet Maw Oo.

There have been a number of similar incidents around the country since the start of the rainy season, when dangling power lines become especially hazardous.

On 26 May, three people, including a 16-year-old boy who was electrocuted near the Sakura Tower in downtown Rangoon, were killed in three separate incidents in a single day in Burma’s largest city.

Less than a week later, on 31 May, a 10-year-old boy died in Rangoon’s Hlaing Township when he grabbed an electrical cable as he tried to stop himself from slipping in a drain, in an incident that attracted widespread attention on social media.

According to police reports, electrocutions have been an almost daily occurrence in Rangoon since the dry summer weather ended last month. Other parts of the country have also been affected, including Mandalay, where four young children died last month in a single incident.

Last week, the general manager of the Yangon Electricity Supply Corporation, Thant Zin, said at a press conference at the Ministry of Electricity and Energy in Naypyidaw that the company would punish any staff found to be negligent in maintaining safety standards.

“We will form an inspection jury for electricity poles. If we find they are dangerous, and that it is because of our electrical engineers, we will take action against them in accordance with our staff rules and regulations,” he was quoted by the Myanmar Times as saying.

He added, however, that the company would not take responsibility for problems that stem from people connecting cables to server lines in order to steal electricity.

“If the fault lies with consumers then it is not our concern,” he said.