DVB Multimedia Group

7 die in Irrawaddy delta floods

Floodwaters in Panthein [Bassein] (PHOTO: DVB)

Seven people have died in Irrawaddy Division in the past two days, where high floodwaters and dangerous conditions have prompted warnings from local officials.

A car carrying rescue workers was returning from a humanitarian mission to Dahka, in the Irrawaddy delta when it became trapped in floodwaters yesterday evening, killing five passengers, including two monks.

Soe Than, a rescue worker who is a member of the 88 Generation group, said only two escaped the disaster.

“They had come from Rangoon, but had been assisting in rescue efforts in Dahka. The car was the last in a convoy on a road near Mala, but the land was inundated with water.

“The driver directed the car straight ahead, but drove into a ditch beside the road, where it became submerged. Only the driver and one girl managed to escape; the rest drowned,” he said.

The bodies have transported this morning to Rangoon, while the driver of the car was detained at Kyaunggon police station.

In a separate incident today, three students died when their boat flipped in a paddy field in Nyaungpintha village, also in Irrawaddy Division.

Local authorities reported the students, plus three others who survived the accident, left Taungyargyi village at 4pm and arrived near U-Shitgon village thereafter, where the floodwaters had risen to some seven feet.

Authorities have warned relief workers to liaise with local officials in flood-affected areas before travelling to assist, as accidents have already been reported on cars and boats.

Emergency camps have been opened in the Irrawaddy Division capital, Pathein [Bassein], to provide shelter to local residents displaced by flooding from the Ngawon River, which has also been overflowing since 10 August.

Floodwaters from upper Burma have travelled south, and have exacerbated the effects of ongoing heavy rains in Irrawaddy Division.

Pathein resident Thet Lwin said that waters were still continuing to rise, inundating much of the city, and forcing more than 4,000 people to take refuge in the camps.

“Water has also flooded in front of the city hall, as well about eight of the 15 quarters in the town. We are seeing water levels increase by about two to three inches over the last few days,” he said.

In addition to Pathein, other towns in Irrawaddy Division including Thapaung, Hinthada, Zalon and Nyaungdon are facing ongoing floodwaters.

The government has announced the death toll caused by monsoonal flooding and landslides has now reached 103.

Read more on the 2015 flood crisis here.