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Pegu farmlands destroyed by floods

Pegu residents contend with flooding, 14 June 2016. (PHOTO: DVB)

Floods triggered by continuous heavy rainfall have destroyed thousands of acres of farmland in Pegu Division this week.

The areas of Pegu affected by floodwaters include Zigon, Nattalin and Gyobingauk in the region’s west that had been experiencing heavy rains in the past week.

Zigon resident Khin Nyein Nyen Ei told DVB that more than 6,000 acres of farmland were destroyed in the town as they remained inundated since the overflow of a nearby river on Sunday.

“Farmlands located in the east and west of Zigon were destroyed. The floodwater is yet to subside, and the river is still swelling,” she said, adding that 18 homes located on a riverbank were destroyed.

She said six villages in Zigon Township were affected by the recent floods.

Thant Zin Htet, a resident in the town of Nattalin, said nearly 30 villages in his township were experiencing floods.

“Pretty much every area in the west of Pegu Division has experienced floods this year and lost some or all of their fields,” he said. “Local farmers will struggle.”

He said the water level in Nattalin is chest high, posing difficulties for young students going to school.

The Agriculture and Irrigation Ministry’s assistance-secretariat Myo Tint Tun said the government was yet to receive details of destruction to the agriculture sector, but is preparing to provide the necessary assistance to farmers.

“At the moment, we haven’t yet received any reports, but we are stockpiling paddy seeds and other items to distribute to the farmers whenever necessary,” said Myo Tint Tun.

The Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Ministry Director Phyu Le Le Tun said that a 20 billion kyat [US$17 million] budget has been approved for disaster management in the 2016-17 fiscal year.

Thousands of people in Sagaing, Pegu, Irrawaddy and Arakan divisions have been affected by floods as the annual monsoon season rains sweep across the country.