Yin Nwe Ko (Linn)
As a cold breeze blowing above the surface of the water seems to embrace Ko Kyaw Kha’s body, he feels a sudden thrust of chill. Ko Kyaw Kha places the zip of his jacket together and pulls it up. The weather is cold due to drizzle of rain and the wind blowing above the surface of the water is also chilly, Ko Kyaw Kha moves from the position standing in the front part of his dwelling to the inner one where there is the lee side.
As the introduction begins with water and air, one might think that it is about a certain beach one has ever got to. No ! It is just a flood-period and Ko Kyaw Kha’s dwelling is entirely surrounded by water. Since the front room and the hind room are a little lower than the principal room in his dwelling, they have already been submerged under water. Even the floor of the principal room is about five inches to be touched by the surface of the water. Even the motorized boat can be driven along Yadanarbon Street on which Ko Kyaw Kha’s dwelling is situated. Boats have already been up and down the street for over a week. It is unbelievable to say that this street was once in the rise of dust.
It will be blamable for saying why the so-called ‘Street’ is in the rise of dust. It is right that Yadanarbon Street is one of the main streets of the town. However, as the materials used to metal it are more gravels and less tar, in spite of rainy season, whenever the cars pass by, there are much rise of dust along the street. Whoever living both sides of the street will surely support Ko Kyaw Kha’s words when asked.
Now, it is enough to ask where the dusty street goes hiding. It submerges under water rising rapidly and unexpectedly. It is being tortured brutally by the rising water. It has been the sixth time that Yadanarbon Street is submerged under water like this after breaking down of ‘Htein Ngu’ embankment. While ‘Htein Ngu’ embankment was breaking down, it was the worst situation. The water level rose up hour by hour. The flash-flood was about twelve inches above the floor of the principal room of Ko Kyaw Kha’s dwelling within a 24 hour period. Both bathroom and water pump were under water and those who were in flood-hit area were in abundance of trouble. It was in 1991.
Before that, Kyaunggonites had never had any dream about the water which would overflow above Yadanarbon Street. The water from Daga River, which flows from North to South through Kyaung -gon, had been over the Strand Road once in about three years. Kyaunggonites said it was the year of flood. When Ko Kyaw Kha was a High School student, water was often over the Strand Road, Ko Kyaw Kha remembered. Along the Strand Road, the portion of the road in front of the Police Station was the highest place and it was never submerged under water. But, now, the portion of the road in front of the Police Station is saluting that very water well.
Illogically, Ko Kyaw Kha remembers a sentence in the prescribed English Text for Grade X.
‘Where has the water come from ? Where has the water gone to ?’
Only the technicians can give the answer for above question. As Ko Kyaw Kha is an ordinary local inhabitant, he has a sure and firm answer contemplating over his life’s experience. He has been living in Kyaunggon for over sixty years now. He has also been homogeneous with the geographical status of this region for ages. The flood like this had occurred once before breaking down of ‘Htein Ngu’ embankment. The elders said it was under the British Rule. Ko Kyaw Kha was not born yet. It occurred due to the breaking down of ‘Nga Thaine Chaung’ embankment.
The year in which ‘Htein Ngu’ embankment broke down was during the Miltary Administration. In summer of that year,Ko Kyaw Kha together with other people from Kyanggon faced with a project to make a cross-road between Kyaunggon and Kan Ka Lay village. Within a few months , a big dyke called high-way about the length of six miles and the height of two men abruptly rose up from the ground level by the labour of public. One from each household in thirteen village tracks was forced to contribute labour to appear a big dyke without being paid any labour charges. Later that year, the big dykes also called high-ways appeared one after another in Ayeyarwady Region. Almost all of them were done with forced labour.
People from delta region relied on only water-way before. One can get to Yangon from Kyaunggon only by ship and it was a one-night trip. Now, one can get to Yangon within three hours due to the benefit of Yangon-Pathein high-way. There are many roads which are leading to Yangon and interconnecting with the towns such as Ma U Bin, Kyaik Latt, War Ke Ma, Pyapon, Dedaye etc. All these roads appeared as a network in Ayeyarwady Region. All were metaled through streams, rivers and wide deep-water fields. The places where there were wide area of waters before have already been blocked by a long big dykes. Therefore the drainage of water in those area are greatly disturbed.
In fact, many tributaries and streams are the gifts prepared by the nature which makes huge volume of hydrosphere from Chindwin River , Ayeyarwady River and the rivers in Upper Myanmar easily drain them into the sea. Only when the natural drainage system in Ayeyarwady Region is perfect, there will be free from disaster of flood in the rainy season. Now, the regular and natural drainage system from the wide deep-water fields in Ayeyarwady Region is banned by the newly born roads like big dykes. If there are heavy rain and flood in Upper Myanmar, it is sure for those living in Ayeyarwady Region to be seriously effected. Water flowing down from Upper Myanmar will surely make the Delta region flooded and devour the town, villages, paddy fields, farms and roads. If the bird-eyed view photos over the whole Ayeyarwady Delta Region is taken, the answer can be seen vividly.
In spite of making a project aiming at the advantage , one should not forget what the disadvantage will occur. It has been for over twenty years now. Ones who had had the thoughts to implement those projects might not exist in the world. They never thought it would be flooded like this while making the plan as well as it was the time that the advice of the technicians were often neglected.
The intention in which Ko Kyaw Kha thinks above situations is to take awareness for those who will grow up in coming generation. He has just goodwill to recognize that it is essential whenever the important project is planned, the advice of the technicians concerned must be requested and accepted. Whenever implementing in the hope of advantage is made, it should be calculated to get the least disadvantage. The respective ones should take lessons that they should manage how to rescue the non-benefitted people.
At present occasion, the flood victims are waiting for the humanitarian aids from well-wishers, NGOs and authorities concerned. There are many flood-hit people who are in much worse situation than Ko Kyaw Kha’s and are staying in the rescue camps in disorder. There are many places which are within the reach as well as out of the reach of the providers and rescuers. In reality, it cannot be denied that rainy season is the preparation period to fill the provisions up for the whole Nation. So people of Myanmar are to love rainy season. However, for Ko Kyaw Kha, there comes a chill in his back guessing the coming rainy season.