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3 dead as flooding wracks Upper Sagaing

Floodwaters are rising in Upper Sagaing region, 10 July 2017. (PHOTO: DVB)

At least three people have lost their lives and more than 10,000 directly affected by intense storms and flooding in the Upper Sagaing region, where the annual monsoon has swollen the River Chindwin and inundated towns and villages.

“Since the beginning of this month, floodwaters have swept away 23 houses and affected more than 10,000 people,” said Dr. Zaw Win, the regional minister of social affairs for Sagaing Division. “The flooding killed one person in Hkamti, one in Monywa and another in Homalin.”

“He added: “Across the region, 186 schools have been closed, 54 of which are in Minkin township alone. This is a security measure against the rising water levels on the Chindwin.

“The Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement has been working hand in hand with the fire services, the Red Cross and other government agencies to coordinate relief measures,” the minister added. “We have already provided 25.6 million kyat [US$20,000] for flood relief, and we have been raising awareness about waterborne diseases such as diarrheoa, as well as the increased risks from snakes in the water. We have also distributed water purification tablets.”

Meanwhile, Burma’s Department of Meteorology has warned that water levels in the Upper Sagaing region will continue to rise.

Ferry services have also been disrupted, closing on the Chindwin for a minimum of nine days between 8–16 July.

Farmers have been most affected. Yang Let, the village administrator in Mo Loon, Hkamti Township, told DVB yesterday that the entire village and all the agriculture in the area is now underwater.

“We have been completely flooded for a full week,” he said. “There are only farmers in these parts. Some managed to store food supplies, but they will have to share with those who have nothing.”

Maung Tay, an MP in Hkamti Township, bemoaned the slow public response to the crisis. “Last year, many private donors and philanthropists came with donations of relief supplies for the flood victims. This year, no one has come to help.”

 

Additional reporting by Paing Soe