The weather bureau has warned of hailstones and gale-force winds in nine regions and states from 20 to 24 April due to a wave of dangerous weather that has moved from the west to east.
The Meteorology and Hydrology Department has alerted the people in Nay Pyi Taw, Sagaing, Mandalay, Magway and Bago regions and Kachin, Shan, Chin and Rakhine states to take precautions to protect themselves from the gales, which may reach 30 to 34 mph and hailstorms, which might occur along with isolated heavy rainfall.
The weather bureau announced the warning following its 10.30 am observation yesterday.
Prominent weather expert Dr Tun Lwin has also warned in a Facebook post yesterday that the northern part of Myanmar comprised of Kachin State, Chin State and upper Sagaing Region are expected to receive moderate rainfall which may reach about 3 inches within three days and isolated heavy rainfall, with five to eight inches expected over Kachin State, upper Sagaing and northern Shan State in the same period.
“Due to heavy rainfall, local people should be alerted to flash floods and landslides and gales, lightning and hailstones due to cumulus clouds. Degree of certainty is 60 per cent,” said Dr Tun Lwin. He is also a former director-general of the Meteorology and Hydrology Department of Myanmar.
Strong gales accompanied by heavy rain and hailstones struck two townships in Mandalay Region on 22 April in 2016, levelling trees, destroying houses and killing people and animals.
The water flowing downhill resulting from torrential rains caused havoc in the townships of Sintgaing and Kyaukse, blowing the roofs off over 450 buildings and killing six people and over 300 domesticated animals, with two children reported missing.
Amid the weather warning, the Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Dr Win Myat Aye is touring areas in central Myanmar that experienced natural disasters in April last year, as part of the ministry’s awareness campaign.
The ministry has been making efforts to get ready for natural disasters, stressing preparedness during the present year after taking lessons from previous years.
Due to a sudden rise of the water level in the Sinthay creek in August, 2016, Thanpayargone village, Letpan Ai village in Tatkon Township, Nay Pyi Taw and Sattoepauk and Aung Chanthar villages in Yamethin township in Mandalay Region were flooded, with 37 houses under water, 373 houses ruined and a population of 1,783 rendered homeless.
Union Minister Dr Win Myat Aye, who is also vice-chairman of the national management committee on natural disasters, accompanied by U Tin Htut, a member of the Nay Pyi Taw Council, visited Thanpayargone village in Tatkon township, which was hit by floods last year, to meet with villagers at the Thanpayargone monastery and with residents of Sattoepauk village in Yamethin township at the Ywa U monastery.
“The ministry has been prioritising the task of preparing to fight against natural disasters by managing effective preventive works after finding out the actual needs of the villagers. And we must bring about the emergence of better situations after taking lessons from the natural disasters which struck last year. Now we have come to know that we have difficult access to the villages and rescue teams cannot go there quickly. As regards natural disasters, preparedness is mainly connected with public transport. For better transport, we will co-operate with respective ministries”, the Union Minister said.
“As for the villagers, they need to have knowledge and awareness on natural disasters. Our government has arranged to fight against natural disasters by forming management committees on natural disasters at region, state, district and township levels.
Basically, we have known from previous experience that people’s participation can lead to successful implementation. So we came here to meet the villagers so that we can operate the task hand-in-hand with the people.”
Afterward, the Union Minister advised necessary matters over the discussions and presentations of the villagers, followed by an educative talk by the head of Mandalay Region’s department of social welfare, rescue and resettlement, and delivery of leaflets on natural disasters.—GNLM