August 19, 2016

Flood affected people in Rakhine evacuated, provided with aid

Local people riding in a boat as they cross a flooded field near Shit Thaung Pagoda in Rakhine State. Photo: Zar Li
Local people riding in a boat as they cross a flooded field near Shit Thaung Pagoda in Rakhine State. Photo: Zar Li

The Laymyo and Kaladan rivers burst their banks after torrential rain in northern Rakhine and Chin States flooding has affected several wards and villages in Kyauktaw, Mrauk-U, Minbya and Kyauktaw townships over 5-6 July.
Floodwaters are receding in some areas in Rakhine State. Authorities are on alert as rain is expected to continue while aid is being delivered to people affected by the floods.
“When heavy rain hits upstream of Laymyo and Kaladan Rivers, people in the low-lying areas move to higher ground. Relief aid including dry rations, drinking water and family kits which have been supplied by the Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Department have been sent to people.
These areas are said to be affected by floods in July every year,” said U Tin Maung Swe, Secretary of Rakhine State Government.
Authorities have already dropped aid to the people in areas that are not easily accessible due to poor infrastructure.
According to local authorities, flooding has affected 6,100 people from 38 villages and three wards in Minbya Township, 2,828 people from 13 villages in Kyauktaw Township, 2,527 from 10 villages in Mrauk U Township. They are all sheltering at monasteries and homes and high places.
Meanwhile, more than 2,900 people in Ann township have been provided with aid and settled in temporary shelters. All schools in Minbya Township remain closed as of 5 July.
“Schools are still submerged underwater. I still can’t say for sure yet when they will reopen. It will be only once the waters have receded. The volume of damage caused by the flooding is still unknown,” said Shwe Saw Maung, assistant township of education officer for the Minbya Township Office of Education.
Tide levels started to rise on July 4, with increased heavy rain on July 5 pushing rivers to burst, submerging wards and villages in Minbya Township underwater. However, as of 6 June water levels have reportedly begun to recede.
A total of 204 schools, including six high schools and three middles schools, are reportedly submerged in Minbya Township. The current flooding also claimed the Yangon-Sittwe highway causing many traffic delays, while sellers from Minbya and Mrauk-U Townships have been packing up their belongings and relocating to higher ground.
“The water is waist high on the roads within the town. Even if the schools were to open, the water levels pose great danger to children. The rains have also yet to cease. Schools would be hard pushed to reopen right after the waters have subsided. We’ve given our students lots of homework to revise at home,” said Ma Nway Nway, a teacher from a school in Minbya Township.—GNLM with Myitmakha News Agency


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