MYANMAR: FLOODS KILL AT LEAST 10, FORCES 54,000 PEOPLE FROM HOMES

BAGO (Myanmar), Surging floodwaters have killed at least 10 people and forced tens of thousands from their homes across swathes of Myanmar, a government official said as more heavy monsoon rain battered the region.

Vast areas of farmland have been submerged by muddy water stretching to the horizon, with only the rooftops of some houses visible.

Some stranded people were plucked from the churning waters by rescuers in boats, while volunteers used rafts made from barrels and pieces of wood.

Other flood victims waded through waist-deep water to escape, carrying children on their shoulders while trying to keep precious belongings out of the water.

There have been 10 people killed by the floods, a Ministry of Social Welfare official said, adding that the figure

included three soldiers whose deaths were confirmed on Sunday.

There are more than 54,000 displaced people affected by the flooding around the country.

Evacuation orders had been issued in several areas, while some 163 camps have been set up for displaced people in southern, eastern and central parts of the country.

There are normally floods, but not like this year. This year is the worst ever, said Myint Myint Than, one of the hundreds taking refuge in a shelter in Bago.

Others are holding firm, refusing to leave their flooded homes in spite of the warnings from authorities.

I’m not going to the shelter yet because some shelters don’t have any places left. But if the flooding gets any worse than this, I will have to escape, Khin Mar Yee said through the upper window of her submerged

house.

The floods in Myanmar come as a particularly heavy monsoon pummels the region, bringing downpours that contributed to the collapse of a dam last week in Laos, which left scores dead or missing.

Myanmar is hit by severe flooding every year and climate scientists in 2015 ranked it top of a global list of nations hardest hit by extreme weather.

That year more than 100 people died in floods that also displaced hundreds of thousands across the country.

Myanmar’s worst natural disaster of recent times was Cyclone Nargis, which lashed huge stretches of the country’s coast and left at least 138,000 dead or missing in May 2008.

Meanwhile, the Disaster Management Committee urged people living near rivers and low-lying areas in some states and regions to evacuate as the water level in rivers has exceeded the danger level.

The rivers where the water level had risen to the danger level included Sittoung River, Shwegyin River, Bago River and Thanlwin River, and these levels would continue to rise over the next two days, the committee said.

The flood has threatened the areas of Hpa-an, Toungoo, Bilin, Shwegyin and Madauk in Kayin state, Mon state and Bago region respectively.

The water level of Sittoung River at Madauk and Bago River at Bago hit a record high of 2 feet above its danger level on Saturday, the first time in 54 years.

Flood triggered by strong wind and heavy rainfall in recent days has also caused damage and losses across the country, including Nay Pyi Taw, Shan state, Kayin state, Bago region and Rakhine state, according to Myanmar News Agency.

Meanwhile, the Myanmar National Airlines is increasing its flights from Yangon to Mawlayine and Dawei in Mon state and Tanintharyi region on Monday to facilitate transport links to the flood-hit areas.

Source: NAM News Network