Prome District Floods Leave 40,000 Homeless

By Kaung Myat Min 5 August 2015

PROME, Pegu Division — Almost 40,000 locals across five townships in Prome District have had their homes inundated by rising floodwaters from the Irrawaddy River, with at least one confirmed death in the area.

Padaung, 20 kilometers southwest of the Pegu Division capital of Prome, was the worst hit, with over 5,600 of the township’s 6,800 households and 45 schools swamped. Across the river in Shwedaung, villagers were continuing to pour into relief camps as floodwaters hit their peak.

“People have gradually come to the relief camps since last Wednesday,” Shwe Hla Aung, deputy administrator of Shwedaung Township told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday. “The water level has stopped rising. We have sufficient rice, oil, instant noodles and water at the camps, but I am afraid flood victims may have to stay at the camps for the next ten days.”

Local community groups are assisting with rescue and relief works, but some places in the district remain inaccessible, said Kyaw Thu Soe, secretary of Kittaya Youths Social Organization.

“Though we all rallied round flood victims last week, there are still some places that have not received relief aid at all,” he told The Irrawaddy. “We have received aid not only from [Prome] citizens, but also from Rangoon—but we still need more. Places which are impossible to reach need help.”

Kyaw Thu Soe also called on the government to make preparations for rehabilitation of the area, in a recovery effort that is forecast to take months.

The Prome District General Administration Department said on Tuesday that across Prome, Shwedaung, Paungde, Padaung and Thegon townships, over 17,000 of the area’s 22,000 households had been inundated by floodwaters, along with 113 schools and nearly 40,000 acres of farmland. The department also reported that 68 local roads and a bridge had been destroyed by the Irrawaddy’s rising tide.

Burma’s Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement reported on Tuesday that 69 people had died in floodwaters between June 24 and Aug. 4.