Flooding Damages Paddy Fields and Homes in Sagaing

By Zarni Mann 1 September 2014

MANDALAY — Heavy rains over the past week in Sagaing Division have flooded more than 600 acres of paddy fields and some 1,500 homes, according to township administrators and residents.

The annual monsoon rains came late this year to this mountainous region of upper Burma, and for some months farmers have been longing for a change in the dry weather. But the unexpectedly heavy rains over the past week ruined their crops and left many people worried about the possibility of even greater storms on the horizon.

In Depaeyin Township, about 400 acres of paddy fields were flooded, as were 250 acres of paddy fields in Kantbalu Township. Hundreds of homes were inundated.

“If the rain continues for the next two days, our paddy fields will not recover and all the young plants will die,” said Thein Maung, a farmer from Zee Gone village in Kantbalu. Water flooded more than 150 homes in Zee Gone village alone.

“Before we were hoping for rain, but now we worry that rain will keep falling. The weather change has been getting worse in recent years and we are now afraid for our livelihoods,” he added.

In Shwebo Township, heavy rains damaged the Sin Kut reservoir, located near the town, and water overflowed into Sin Kut village, Min Kyaung village and the Shwebo University compound. Some bridges connecting the villages were also damaged.

“The water is receding today, but more than 300 homes were filled with mud and some belongings were destroyed,” said Ma Swe, a resident in Shwebo. “Authorities from the township administration office are repairing the bridges and cleaning the drains.”

The northern part of Sagaing Division was also affected by the rains, with landslides destroying a mountain road connecting Khandi and Lahae townships. Homes were also flooded in both townships.

“The road was newly repaired three months ago. But now, even a motorbike cannot go on it because of the landslide and heavy rain,” said Aung San Myint, who lives in Khandi. “There are no authorities yet to take care of that road so travelers are facing difficulties.”

Last month, flooding in Pegu Division had displaced more than 15,000 people from their homes as of Aug. 8, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)