Cyclone Mocha Leaves Parts of Myanmar’s Ancient City Bagan Flooded

By The Irrawaddy 15 May 2023

Parts of Myanmar’s World Heritage-listed temple city, Bagan, have been flooded by heavy rain triggered by Cyclone Mocha, according to local residents.

Two days of heavy rain since Saturday morning led to parts of Bagan flooding, with rainwater engulfing some temples. Roads in the archaeological zone were also flooded as Min Nan Thu Creek overflowed its banks, said the Fire Services Department in Mandalay Region’s Nyaung-U Township.

Several ancient temples including the famous Ananda Temple and Shwezigon Pagoda were also flooded, said residents.

The heavy rain has prompted concerns about the risk of damage from damp penetrating into the temples.

Water overflowing from Min Nan Thu Creek floods a road / Nyaung-U Township Fire Services Department

“It is not good for pagodas if the foundations are submerged for a long time. In recent years, the pagodas are flooded every year. I saw [authorities] pumping the pagodas out since yesterday, but they were badly flooded, and they are still pumping the water out today,” a Bagan resident told The Irrawaddy on Sunday.

The Bagan branch of the Department of Archaeology and National Museum said it surveyed the damage caused to pagodas by the heavy rain, and found that only a few ancient buildings have suffered from damp, adding that murals were not affected.

Some of the pagodas’ bases are temporarily waterlogged, and measures will be taken in line with conservation guidelines to fix the problem, said the department, adding that it would clear out blocked ditches and drains so the floodwater drains away.

Bagan was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in July 2019. The city is home to over 3,000 temples dating from the 9th to the 13th centuries, spanning the rule of some 50 Bagan Dynasty kings.