Central Burma Faces Water Shortage

A boy carries a plastic container filled with water on his shoulder as he walks across a dried creek in Thaunglay Village of the Irrawaddy Delta in 2010. Villages across central Burma are reporting water shortages this year as temperatures rise. (Photo: AP)

As temperatures rise, drought has taken hold in much of central Burma, with residents in several villages saying they fear for their health and livelihoods.

“It’s very difficult to fetch water. The village’s lakes have dried up, so we have to go to the streams and a river, which are quite far away,” a resident from Ta Gunn Dine village in Magwe Division’s Natmauk Township told The Irrawaddy. “Not only the people, but also our cattle will suffer if we do not get rain in the next few days.”

In some parts of Magwe and Mandalay divisions, rain and heavy winds in recent days have improved the situation.

“As rain poured down in the last two days, our village’s lake filled up again,” said Aung Khin Win, who lives in Ywar Thit Kyi village in Magwe’s Myaing Township. “So now we’re sharing water with nearby villages. People in some other villages, like Ledi and Magyikan, need to fetch water from far-away streams and a small river.”

Mandalay’s chief minister, Ye Myint, said on Friday in Naypyidaw that more than four thousand villages in the division faced water scarcity during the hot summer months. He said regional authorities were attempting to dig a well but were not sure if they could provide drinking water, as the region lies in a dry zone.

Dr. Tun Lwin, a meteorologist from Myanmar Climate Change Watch, a private nonprofit that monitors climate change and shares weather information with the public, expects the monsoon season to come late this year.

“The monsoon will enter the southern part of the country around May 15, while it will reach the Ayeyarwaddy [Irrawaddy] Delta around May 20, the central part of the country around May 25 and the northernmost regions on May 31,” he wrote on the nonprofit’s website.

Speaking in Rangoon over the weekend, he said global warming had affected the monsoon season and contributed to droughts in the country’s dry zones.

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