Floods Affect Thousands in Irrawaddy Division

By Salai Thant Zin 5 August 2016

Thousands of people have been affected by flooding in Irrawaddy Division, with relief organizations struggling to keep up.

Rising water in the Irrawaddy and Ngawun rivers has caused flooding in Hinthada, Zalun, Kyangin, Myanaung, Ingapu, Maubin, Pantanaw and Danubyu townships since early August, and forced more than 2,000 households into relief camps, according to the Irrawaddy Division relief and resettlement department.

“About 20 villages from eight different village tracts are now inundated. We have opened eight relief camps in Kyangin Township where we are assisting more than 400 households. Mainly, we need food and drinking water,” said Thaw Zin Win, a Kyangin Township lawmaker.

Relief camps have opened across the division: 23 in Myanaung, eight in Kyangin, six in Zalun, five in Hinthada, two in Ingapu and one in Maubin. The relief and resettlement department and donors are providing rice and drinking water to flood victims.

“We have supplied rice and drinking water costing more than 3 million kyats (US$2,500). The floods have not caused any casualties and there are no missing people,” said Than Soe, the director of the relief and resettlement department.

Floods led to the closure of 42 schools beginning August 2 and the Irrawaddy Division’s education department is planning to compensate for the missed classes during school holidays, said Win Maung, head of the local education department.

“We had to close schools because they were submerged from the flooding and they will stay closed until the water recedes. We are afraid we will have to close even more schools if water levels continue to rise,” he added.

The Irrawaddy and Ngawun rivers have recently fluctuated between one and four feet above a designated “danger level” in flooded townships, and relief department personnel and locals are monitoring water levels in additional townships to prevent water from breaching embankments.

The Irrawaddy Division suffered severe flooding in July and August last year, which submerged more than 88,000 houses in 17 townships in Pathein, Hinthada and Maubin districts and caused a financial loss of more than 18 billion kyats ($15 million).

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.