Flooding Causes Swathe of Devastation Across the Country

By Lawi Weng 18 June 2018

Mon—Flooding triggered by heavy rainfall has caused widespread damage in Chin, Magway, Rakhine, and in particular Mon State, where hundreds of local people were displaced by rising waters, according to local sources.

Incessant downpours have been recorded in different parts of Myanmar for a week. Some fishermen were reported to have disappeared in Rakhine, while landslides occurred in Chin State, where several bridges were also damaged. Over 800 people in Pwint Phyu town in Magway Division were forced to flee their homes because of the flooding.

Most of the people affected by the flooding lived near rivers or in coastal regions.

Heavy rainfall the whole night on Saturday and into Sunday triggered flooding in five townships in Mon state — Moulmein, Mudon, Thanbyuzayat, Ye, and Paung – causing people to seek refuge at religious halls and Buddhist monasteries. The first four townships suffered extensive flood damage, according to U Aung Naing Oo, the vice house speaker of the Mon State Parliament.

Local volunteer rescue teams and civil servants had worked together to rescue people in Moulmein, he said.

In Mon State, a bridge collapsed, trees were blown over, and landslides hit some areas. Local public transportation was halted yesterday including travel by car and train, although cars were able to travel again today after the rain stopped and the water subsided.

Two local women were reportedly killed in related events, according to a local source. A snake bit one woman in Moulmein during the flood, while another fell into a strong river current and drowned as she tried to cross the waterway.

A total of more than 2,000 people have been displaced in Moulmein, Ye, and Thanbyuzayat townships, according to the Than Lwin Times.

The Global New Light of Myanmar reported that U Win Myat Aye, the union minister for social welfare, relief and resettlement, visited Mon State yesterday.

U Win Myat Aye and U Aye Zan, the chief minister of Mon State, met some local IDPs in Mottama, in Moulmein, to donate money while also distributing food to people staying in temporary camps at religious halls.

An estimated 1,000 people have been displaced in Moulmein, the Than Lwin Times reported yesterday, while another 800 in Ye were forced to seek refuge from the floodwaters.

An Irrawaddy reporter visited flood-hit areas in Panga village, Thanbyuzayat, where 500 people had fled their homes, although some had returned today, according to relief workers.

As of press time, 350 people were staying in a monastery compound in Panga village where some community leaders were taking care of them.

One of the main economic activities in Panga is the production of salt, which is then distributed to other parts of Myanmar. According to local people, an estimated 50 million kyat of salt stocks were damaged by the flooding.

Nai Shein, an owner of a salt company, said that he lost only about 5 million kyat of salt. “I was lucky as I moved out a lot of my salt bags,” he said.

Most of the flood victims were employees of the salt companies.

The rain stopped today, and people may able to go back home soon, depending on the weather, according to relief team members. The relief workers appealed for donations and cooked food for the flood victims.

“We do not have enough money. But, some people donated 400,000 kyat to us this morning,” said Nai Chit Sein, the head of a relief team.

The salt company employees are mostly migrant workers who had travelled to Mon State for work. As such, they did not have their own homes to go to, and they did not want to go back to their homes in Pegu and Yangon as they expect the rain will stop soon.

U Aye Zan, the chief minister of Mon State, was due to visit a shelter at 2 pm, according to Nai Chit Sein.

Nai Lawi Chan, another member of the relief team from Panga village said, “We will help them the best we can. We cannot discriminate against them as they are Burmese. We need to help them as they are experiencing hardships,” he said.

Some state workers were attempting to restore rail services yesterday after parts of the rail network were damaged by the flooding.

U Zaw Lin, a railway employee, said trains have not been able to run for two days.

There were also another two places where he and other state workers needed to repair the tracks, he said, adding that the trains may able to resume services after that.