Heavy Winds Hit Mandalay

By Zarni Mann 2 May 2016

MANDALAY — Heavy winds hit towns in Mandalay Division on Friday, leaving them littered with debris and killing at least one person in Pyawbwe Township.

Myint Myint Aye, a 32-year-old Pyawbye resident, died when a tree collapsed on top of her on her way home. The division had no other reported fatalities, but the strong winds ripped the roofs off schools and monasteries and damaged local pagodas.

The winds uprooted trees, toppled lampposts and injured three residents in Chanmyathazi and Maha Aung Myay townships, parts of Mandalay city.

“Areas near Kandawgyi Lake in Chanmyathazi were hit hard. Big trees collapsed and lampposts broke. A tent outside a restaurant blew away and at least three people suffered minor injuries,” said an officer from the Mandalay Municipal Department, who was at the scene.

The debris blocked roads around Kandawgyi Lake and in Chanmyathazi and Maha Aung Myay townships. Old trees collapsed, damaging power cables and causing severe blackouts.

“We are trying our best, with the help of the fire brigade and police, to clean the debris,” the officer added. “Technicians from the electrical department are rushing to repair the power cables to restore electricity to the townships.”

Moreover, in Tatkon Township, near Burma’s capital Naypyidaw, three men were struck by lightning and hospitalized with minor injuries, while three others were injured when their homes collapsed.

According to Tatkon locals, about 1,000 homes collapsed, while other buildings sustained damage.

The winds also destroyed homes, schools, pagodas and monasteries in Mahlaing, Singu, Madaya, Yamethin and Thazi townships.

According to a Department of Meteorology announcement, Mandalay, Sagaing and Magwe divisions, along with Kachin, Shan, and Chin states, are expected to receive more heavy winds and rain in the next two days.

Independent meteorologist Tun Lwin issued a statement on his website and on social media that the severe weather was a result of El Niño, and warned about future storms as well.

“Although the country has faced the effects of El Niño, we also need to prepare for La Niña. The weather forecasts show El Niño weather weakening, and ending in June, while there is a 70 percent chance that La Niña will arrive in September,” he wrote on his Facebook.