As Some Temporary Shelters Close, Others Open

By Lawi Weng 13 August 2019

While some camps for those displaced by severe weather have closed in areas that have seen recent slowdowns in precipitation, many others in states and regions across the country have opened to provide temporary shelter to what the Myanmar government reports are 80,000 people forced to flee their homes in the wake of landslides and monsoon rains.

The Department of Disaster Management-Myanmar reported on Aug. 11 that camp closings in Chin, Rakhine and Kachin states and in Irrawaddy Region have sent 80,609 flood-displaced people back to their homes.

However, at the same time, additional camps were opened in Karen and Mon states and in Bago, Tanintharyi, Yangon, Magwe, Sagaing and Mandalay regions.

Flooding was worst in Mon State and in Bago Region, according to the department, which reported that Mon State saw 26,199 displaced persons and Bago Region 20,382. Karen State, the third worst hit area, recorded 12,974 displaced persons.

The townships of Ye and Kyaikmayaw were particularly affected, according to U Zin Min Ko, the General Administrative Department deputy director for the Mon State government. He said water levels rose Monday and Tuesday in Kyaikmayaw Township, where the state government has opened more camps.

The flooding is the worst Mon State has seen in about 30 years, especially in areas close to rivers and the sea.

Local organizations have donated food to camps in Ye and Kyaikmayaw townships.

“We are sending out the food for the victims now,” U Zin Min Ko told The Irrawaddy.

With water levels down from the previous day in Ye Township on Tuesday, cars were able to move food to camps, but in Kyaikmayaw Township, Vice House Speaker for the Mon State parliament Nai Aung Naing Oo told The Irrawaddy, they’ve had to use boats.

He said some villagers with two-story homes have taken refuge in their top floors while others are sheltering in Buddhist monasteries.

“They can’t travel. The water level keeps going up. The people need food and health care,” he said.

By Tuesday afternoon, the death toll from a landslide in Mottama, in Mon State’s Paung Township, had reached 62. Search and rescue operations there are ongoing.

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