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More than 170,000 affected by floods

Flooding has affected more than 170,000 people in Burma so far this year, according to the government’s Relief and Resettlement Department. (Photo: DVB)

More than 170,000 people across Burma have been affected by flash floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains so far this year, according to the government’s Relief and Resettlement Department.

Among the flood-affected areas in Mandalay Division is Nyaung-U, home to the ancient city of Bagan, a major archaeological site and tourist attraction, according to Myint Sein, a lawmaker in the regional parliament who said over 2,000 households had been evacuated in the town alone.

The Department of Meteorology and Hydrology on Thursday announced the water level in Nyaung-U was 168 cm above the danger level.

Meanwhile, Nay Myo Kyaw, a lawmaker in the Magwe regional parliament, said around 4,500 people had been affected by flooding in Minbu Township and were taking shelter in relief camps opened around the town.

“The water is chest-high in some parts of the town and much deeper in certain areas outside the town,” he said, adding that 18 flood shelters had been set up in the town and six in villages in surrounding areas.

The water level in the Irrawaddy River at Minbu was previously measured at 122 cm above the danger level, but with clear weather on Wednesday, there was a possibility that it could begin to subside.

At Chauk, some 80 km north of Minbu, the river was around 60 cm above the danger level, while at Aunglan, 140 km to the south of Minbu, it was 76 cm above the danger level. At Pyay (Prome) in Pegu Division, the water level was more than 90 cm above the danger level.

The Relief and Resettlement Department estimated that more than 39,000 households had been evacuated so far during this year’s monsoon season in Kachin State and Sagaing, Magwe, Irrawaddy and Pegu divisions. It also said that the government had spent 80 million kyat (US$67,000) on relief and resettlement efforts for the affected population.

Speaking to reporters at the end of a session of parliament on Thursday, Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Minister Win Myat Aye said his ministry was coordinating with state and division governments to provide necessary assistance to the disaster victims.

“The refugees upon arrival [at the shelters] were provided assistance for an initial period of three days, and we are working on plans to expand this to a week or two until the water completely subsides and they are able to return to their homes,” he said.