Floods in Thandwe Town Displace 600 People

By Nyein Nyein 21 August 2013

Floods in Arakan State’s Thandwe town have displaced about 600 people in recent days, while three residents drowned in the flood waters, local officials said on Wednesday.

Kyi Soe Htun, deputy director of the Thandwe Township administration, said authorities had set up six relief camps on Monday and Tuesday to provide shelter for displaced residents.

Authorities and local townspeople distributed rice rations, instant noodles and drinking water to the flood victims, the official said, adding that the local public hospital and a military medical unit are providing health care at the camps. “The health department will take care of providing clean water after the flood water goes away,” he said.

Three people drowned in recent days after they ventured into the flood waters, according to Kyi Soe Htun. “They died when they went to fetch a log floating in the water. One died as he cannot swim back when he went fishing,” he said.

Parts of town had become inundated in about 1.5 meter of water after the Thandwe River broke its banks following heavy rains last week, forcing schools and markets to close and residents to flee their homes.

Water levels had begun to drop by Wednesday afternoon, said Kyi Soe Htun, adding that two of the camps were now closed and some families had returned home.

Thandwe town, located in southern Arakan State, is regularly hit by flooding and every few years the flood damage is severe, according to officials and locals.

“Flooding is common every year, but the state government does not have a plan or a budget to use to support the flood victims,” said Kyi Soe Htun.

Win Naing, a National League for Democracy representative in Thandwe, said local party members were also distributing relief items to flood victims who are not staying at camps.

A resident from No. 4 quarter of Thandwe said the townspeople were concerned that flooding would continue to impact them. “We are worried that the weather forecast will be bad and that there will be more rains,” she said.

Additional reporting by Myat Su Mon.