RANGOON — Flooding across Burma continues to take an economic and human toll, causing untold damage to crops and infrastructure and at least 20 fatalities, according to statistics as of Monday from the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, even has heavy rains are predicted to continue this week.
Seven people in Sagaing Division; one person in Kachin State; five in Shan State; three in Mogok; and four in Mandalay Division’s Thabeikkyin Township were killed in flooding or landslides up to Monday, Chuan Haye, director of the ministry’s Relief and Rehabilitation Department told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday. Attempts to contact the department on Wednesday to get the latest casualty figures were unsuccessful.
On Saturday, four men and four women living near a creek in the village of Taunglel were swept away in a torrent in Thabyeikkyin Township, with four of the victims confirmed dead and four still missing.
Also on Saturday, a century-old bridge on the road linking the townships of Hsipaw and Namtu in northern Shan State collapsed under the strain of a flash flood surge, killing five people and injuring nine, the police station in Hsipaw confirmed on Monday.
“We have carried out rescue works and the Construction Ministry is taking steps to rebuild it [the bridge] as soon as possible,” said a police officer from the station.
In Kachin State, transportation has been disrupted and some villages were inundated in Mogaung Township, where relief camps are being set up for flood victims.
“On July 25, cars could not drive as the road from Mogaung to Hpakant was inundated. I heard that some were stranded on the road,” a Hpakant local told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday.
Mogok Township and some of its surrounding jurisdictions in Mandalay Division have faced landslides and flooding due to the heavy rains. Two people were killed in a landslide in Inn Chauk village, 17 miles northwest of Mogok town.
“The mountain torrents breached the creek’s embankments and water inundated wards in the township. The flooding has subsided now, but there remains silt left by the flood,” Mogok local Htet Naing told The Irrawaddy.
Record high rainfall from July 14-18 inundated nine townships in Sagaing Division, affecting more than 7,000 households, over 3,000 of which were evacuated, according to the divisional government.
A number of dams including Thazi Dam in Sagaing Division have burst due to the rains, with other dams reportedly at the brink of bursting, Sagaing locals told The Irrawaddy.
Kawlin Township has been hardest hit by the flooding and four relief camps in the township and eight others in villages of the township have been set up to shelter flood victims, said a responsible person from the Kawlin Township disaster management committee, a township chapter of the National Disaster Preparedness Central Committee (NDPCC).
“As the floods have subsided, some have returned to their homes,” he told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday. “According to July 26 statistics, there were only 2,999 victims at 12 relief camps and according to July 27 statistics, there were 1,201. We have supplied dry food and drinking water to victims and we are also supplying medicines.”
In Sagaing Division, a total of seven people—five civilians, a firefighter and a policeman—who were undertaking rescue works were killed by floods and over 80,000 acres of farmland were inundated.
The Department of Meteorology and Hydrology announced on Tuesday that a tropical depression over the Bay of Bengal was not likely to make landfall in Burma, but warned that rains from the storm could still trigger flash floods and landslides across the country.