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May 28, 2020

Anti-erosion defences of Ngawun River on their last legs

Local people carries out an anti-erosion defence.
Local people carries out an anti-erosion defence.

THE daily collapsing of the stretch of the Ngawun riverbank which  runs through the Ayeyawady Region town of Kangyihtaung, between 3 July and Thursday, has created a situation which could see the destruction of anti-erosion defences, according to the town’s riverbank conservation group.
The breaking of the anti-erosion defenses would reportedly see neighborhoods within the town, as well as schools and rice mills, become submerged under water.
“The holes in the defence walls, made by rats, which were patched up last year have expanded from the rising waters. The battering of the river with the rising and falling of the tide is slowly eroding the sides of the riverbank. As such, we’re at a point now whereby we could see the anti-erosion defences being swept away by the river. If this befalls us, around 50 houses by the side of the river will have to be relocated,” said U Bo Bo Htun, from the riverbank conservation group.
The gradual collapsing of the banks of the river since 3 July has already reportedly claimed three dwellings and forced families of two other households to up sticks and relocate after concerns their properties would suffer a similar fate.
“We patched up the holes in the defense wall last year caused by the rats. Now, though, and they’ve become increasingly bigger. If this defense falls, all the fields will be flooded and it will claim all the households along the stretch of the river.” said U Sithu Aung, a resident of Kangyihtaung.
A 1,500 feet stretch of the riverbank has reportedly already been swept away, prompting a regional development fund of Hluttaw MPs to be utilised in order to protect an important 900 feet section of the side of the river from following suit, according to the administrator of Kangyihtaung Township.
Efforts were made to build a defence system to mitigate riverbank erosion within the town of Kangyihtaung back in 2014, but within a period of just five months it had collapsed. A submission, made to union government requesting additional support, was then answered with an initiative to build up a proper defence to the section of the river included within 12 enterprises to be carried out with financial assistance from the union level natural disaster protection fund.


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