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2 killed as flash floods hit Sagaing

A bird's eye view of flooding in Kawlin, Sagaing Division, on 9 June 2016. (PHOTO: Kawlin Development Parahita Network)

Two people were reportedly killed when flash floods hit the village of Myelin in the Sagaing Division town of Pinlebu on Thursday.

Buildings, including a health centre and a school, were damaged in the flood, according to a government report.

Located some 350 kilometres north of Mandalay, Pinlebu sits near the source of the Mu River, a major tributary of the Irrawaddy, the longest river in Burma.

Some 50 km southeast of Pinlebu, the town of Kawlin was also affected by flash floods. No casualties have been reported, though some buildings were destroyed and local schools and government offices forced to close.

Last July, Kawlin was among several townships devastated when monsoonal rains caused mass flooding across the northern region. At least 16 people were killed.

Burma’s monsoon season traditionally lasts between July and October.

Speaking in the Sagaing regional assembly on Thursday, Kawlin MP Phyu Phyu Win said that “raging torrents” of floodwater had swept into the town earlier that morning, inundating residential areas.

“Raging torrents of water abruptly swept into Kawlin around 4:15am. Now the whole town is inundated,” said Phyu Phyu Win.

“The volume of water this time is even larger than back in 1995 when many people died. It has caused a lot of destruction across the town.”

She said that rice mills and warehouses, as well as the township police station, were inundated, and that only two of the town’s six residential wards escaped flooding.

The MP said that local authorities are struggling to provide help to affected areas while water levels remain high.

She said local schools and government offices were closed on Thursday, and that patients at a hospital were moved to higher floors in case of more flooding.

Meanwhile, a government report says that the Daungmyu Creek has overflowed in the town of Wuntho, some five km north of Kawlin, causing destruction to private homes and farms.

According to the report, around 700 chickens at a local farm died, while local farming warehouses and roads suffered some damage.