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Red alert in Monywa as floodwaters continue to rise

Villagers in Nyaungdon and Minhla have erected a zip-line to cross the Nattaga Creek. Each passenger must pay 500 kyat per "ride". (PHOTO: DVB)

Burma’s Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH) has issued flood warnings in several low-lying areas of Sagaing Division as water levels on the Chindwin River exceed danger levels. Further south in Monywa, a red alert was issued on Monday as the accumulation of south-flowing river water was expected to swell and flood part of the city.

The DMH said that the water level on the Chindwin River passing through the towns of Paungbyin, Kale, Minkin and Kani on Monday was measured at 2 feet above the designated danger level, and in the town of Mawleik, 4 feet above.

In Monywa, although the current is just two inches above danger level, it is expected to rise, while levels in towns upstream should fall, the Met Office predicted.

The regional government has temporarily suspended all boat transportation services along the Chindwin River.

Local township administrations are working together with the Fire Services Department to evacuate homes in flood-prone areas.

Than Htay, personal secretary to the Sagaing chief minister, said, “This flooding is not unusual in these towns during monsoon season. Schools in the towns of Homalin and Khamtee are now closed, but water levels are steadily declining.”

In the villages of Nyaungdon and Minhla, local residents have created a zip-line to cross the Nattaga Creek, which adjoins the two villages, after a makeshift bridge was carried away by flash floods on 8 July.

Locals are paying 500 kyat (US40¢) per person to cross the creek.