August 19, 2016

Flood Danger Rising

Ayeyawady, Chindwin, Ngawun rivers have exceeded danger levels

Firemen and volunteers lay sand bags on the bank of Ayeyawady River in Mandalay to prevent overflow of water. Photo: Myanmar Fire Services Department
Firemen and volunteers lay sand bags on the bank of Ayeyawady River in Mandalay to prevent overflow of water. Photo: Myanmar Fire Services Department

WHILE exceeding danger levels around several towns the Ayeyawady and Chindwin rivers have threatened to flood people living in low-lying areas.
The Department of Meteorology and Hydrology has alerted people living in lowing lying-areas in Mandalay, Sagaing and Ayeyawady regions to take precautions against possible flooding.
According to observations yesterday the water level of the Ayayawady River reached above danger levels in Mandalay and Sagaing and is expected to remain above danger levels for the next two days.
Meanwhile, the Chindwin River is expected to remain above its danger level at Homelin, Phaungpyin and Kalewa for next two to three days.
The swollen Ayeyawady River has also threatened Myinmu, Pakokku and NyaungU in upper Myanmar and Hinthada, Zalun, and Myinmu in Ayeyawady delta with floods.
Meanwhile, the Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) has reportedly warned residents of villages within Ayeyawady Region’s Ngathaingchaung Township to relocate to higher ground as the Ngawan River is on the brink of bursting its bank.
The water levels of the Ngawun River have reportedly exceeded by a-foot-and-a-half the 1,130cm recognised “danger level” due to torrential downpours which hit the region from the onset of July.
“We’ve connected with local authorities to remind those residing beside the [Ngawan] river in Ngathaingchaung Township to temporarily move to higher ground as water levels could continue to augment,” said Daw San San Maw, director of disaster management for the MRCS.
Monasteries and schools within the villages have reportedly been prepared as temporary shelters to accommodate villagers in case of emergency.
“All the dwellings along the side of the river get completely submerged by water when the river bursts its banks. In times prior, household belongings got completely sodden as villagers weren’t told of potential imminent flooding. These days however we can make the necessary preparations in advance as groups from the town come to warn us of the state of the river,” said U Min Lwin, a riverside resident of Ngathaingchaung Township.
The MRCS’s emergency rescue team, meanwhile, has reportedly made it known that water levels of the Ngawan River could continue to surpass the danger level for the township for a five day period.
Over 1,600 residents from more than 560 households within Sagaing Region’s Mawlaik Township have been forced to relocate to shelters catering for flood victims after the Chindwin River burst its banks, according to records of the Sagaing Region Police Department.
The waters of the Chindwin reportedly washed into 569 Mawlaik homes, forcing homeowners from all but three of those dwellings – a total of 1,627 villagers – to evacuate to nearby monasteries, community halls and schools.
“Great swathes of low-lying areas have been submerged. Residents from those areas relocated to higher ground more than a month ago. People do come and distribute out basic food supplies to these residents, but they don’t receive much in terms of emergency equipment. The authorities conduct sanitation activities. Those living a hand-to-mouth existence struggle with their livelihood; donors are few-and-far between,” said Ko Sithu, a resident from the town of Mawlaik.
The waters of the Chindwin, as well as flowing into neighborhoods within the urban centre of Mawlaik, reportedly also washed into over 15 local villages.
Residents say the Mawlaik district management committee lead the distribution of rice and other food supplies to emergency shelters on 28 July.
“Only partial rain was felt yesterday in Hkamti and Homalin. Water levels should recede in the following day or two in Homalin and Paungbyin. However, we could see an appreciation in river water levels in Mawlaik, Kalaywa, Mingin, Kani and Monywa over the next few days,” said Daw Thin Thin Khine, an official from the Meteorology and Hydrology Department for Sagaing Region.
According to the department, the water levels of the Chindwin River on Thursday evening measured 1,457cm in Hkamti, 3,024cm in Homalin, 1,451cm in Paungbyin and 1,439cm in Mawlaik.—GNLM / Myitmakha News AgencyFB_IMG_1469797802775_1469800134298(1) DSC_8681 DSC_0351(1) DSC_0317 13880224_1784148271725238_3264617548716632555_n


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