Floods Compound COVID-19 Crisis in Western Myanmar

By The Irrawaddy 28 July 2021

Residents in Thandwe Township, Rakhine State, are in urgent need of relief from flooding across the township.

Flood waters started to drop on Wednesday morning after most areas were flooded on Tuesday after heavy rain but residents still cannot return to their mud-covered homes.

Many are sheltering at relief camps, according to civil society organizations (CSO).

“Many have lost their belongings after moving them onto their roofs, but the water kept rising. People could do nothing as their houses flooded. There would have been deaths if water continued to rise today,” said Thandwe resident Ko Kyaw Kyaw.

Ko Thet Lwin Phyo from a CSO said: “We distributed rice and curry to over 1,000 flood victims. They need all types of relief supplies urgently.”

Many residents reported that their cars, motorbikes and electrical equipment were damaged. The flood, the worst in Thandwe’s history, came as the town is in the grip of COVID-19.

Thandwe Hospital was inundated and COVID-19 patients on oxygen had to be evacuated, residents said.

“They were moved to a safe place and COVID-19 patients are receiving treatment again. We are focusing on distributing food to flood victims,” said U Tezina, the abbot of Theingon Monastery in Thandwe, where some 200 flood victims are sheltering.

Electricity has been out in Thandwe since Monday evening as trees and lampposts have fallen.

“You can imagine the suffering to be hit by floods while experiencing COVID-19. Many unemployed have also lost their belongings,” said Ko Kyaw Kyaw.

The military authorities are doing nothing to help the flood victims, except cleaning the flooded hospital, residents said.

More than 200 COVID-19 cases have been recorded in Thandwe with 20 deaths since late May.

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