Burma

Thousands affected as Sittaung and Bago Rivers Rise to Record Levels

By Thazin Hlaing 30 July 2018

Yangon—The Sittaung and Bago rivers in Bago Region have swelled to their highest levels in more than five decades, according to the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology.

The Sittaung River has risen to a record high of 1,270 cm in Bago’s Nyaunglebin Township, its highest level in 53 years.

Meanwhile, the water level of the Bago River reached 968 cm on Sunday, its highest level in 54 years.

“Water levels have risen because it rained heavily in Mon, Karen and Rakhine states for several days continuously,” said U Kyaw Moe Oo, director-general of the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology.

Around 9,000 local residents have been dislocated by the floods and four relief camps have been opened in Madauk, U Nyi Nyi Htwe, a Nyaunglebin Township lawmaker in Bago’s regional parliament, told The Irrawaddy.

“We’ve warned locals [about floods], and asked them to pack up their belongings and important documents. We’ve also opened relief camps for pregnant women and children,” said U Nyi Nyi Htwe.

Madauk has experienced flooding since July 24. The water level of the Sittaung River has reached around six inches and nearly seven feet above the danger levels in Toungoo and Madauk respectively.

The Department of Meteorology and Hydrology estimates that the river is likely to rise a further 1.6 feet in Madauk and another foot in Toungoo by Tuesday.

The water level of the Shwekyin River is now six feet above its danger level and is expected to increase by a further 2 feet by Tuesday. The water level of the Bago River in Bago has also reached around three feet above its danger level.

The Thanlwin (Salween) River has risen by around 5.6 feet above its danger level in Karen State’s Hpa-an. The water level of the Bilin River has reached around 2.6 feet above its danger level in Bilin Township.

The Department of Meteorology and Hydrology has advised local residents living near riverbanks and in low-lying areas in Hpa-an, Bago, Shwegyin, Madauk to move to safer places.

Over 400 rail passengers were stranded through Sunday as heavy rains submerged railroads from Yangon to Mandalay, Mawlamyine and Bago, Myanma Railways (MR) said.

“They were stranded as of Friday,” U Kyaw Kyaw Myo, general manager of MR, told The Irrawaddy.

The MR will suspend its train services between Yangon, Mandalay and Naypyitaw until further notice, he said. It has also cancelled trains between Yangon and Mawlamyine after floods swept away around 100 feet of rail track in Mon State.

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