Conflict & Justice

This journalist found herself caring for two small children after a bomb rocked a Myanmar hotel

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Credit: Soe Zeya Tun/REUTERS

A police officer stands in front of Traders Hotel, where an explosion occurred, in central Yangon early October 15, 2013.

A small bomb exploded at the Traders Hotel in the center of Rangoon, the largest city in Myanmar, also known as Burma. An American guest was injured when the bomb went off inside her room.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the audio to hear it.)

The government says the explosions are an attempt to damage the country's image as it undergoes democratic reforms. Police have detained three suspects. But officials have not identified the people — or any organizations behind the attack.

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi told parliament the devices were intended "to create panic," according to the BBC.

Reporter Naomi Gingold of The Irrawaddy newspaper happened to be in the lobby of the hotel, taking advantage of the ritzy hotel's high-speed internet, when the explosion occurred. She quickly found herself an impromptu nanny for the injured American woman's two young children.

"They were only wearing T-shirt and underwear. The hotel staff brought them a towel, and we kind of talked to them and calmed them down," she said.

The children were left alone when their mother was brought downstairs, badly injured by the bomb blast, and was swept away to a hospital. The bomb blast was so small, Gingold didn't immediately realize the injuries were from an explosion, she said.

"It wasn't until we left that night ... and we noticed the glass strewn far out from the entrance to the hotel, almost to the street," she said.

According to Gingold, the two children were ultimately reunited with their mother, who is recovering, and their father. The family left Myanmar for their home in Hong Kong, she said.

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