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July 10, 2020

Reduce the impact of floods with preparations and foresight

With recent heavy rainfalls, the rivers in upper Myanmar have become swollen and some low-lying areas are inundated. Also, news of landslides and river bank erosions are often seen in the media.
Mid-July can be considered the beginning of the monsoon season. Therefore, we predict that towns and villages in lower Myanmar are expected to be hit by floods, as they were last year.
As the rainy season is beginning, preparations to minimize and prevent flooding are required.
In fact, changes in the weather are causing floods, an occurrence that was uncommon in the past.
These changes, which have not been seen before, will soon become the norm, and it will require the cooperation of the Union government, states and regional governments to uncover the reasons behind these floods.
If the causes are due to dwindling rivers, then river expansion projects to widen the channels must be carried out. Immediate repairs must also be made to damaged bridges to guarantee that the public has proper transportation.
We must conduct talks on health education and nutrition, offer training classes for vocational skills, and set rules to prevent flooding, drain blockages, and careless littering.
Weak response to the disaster can lead to misunderstandings about evacuation efforts.
While the people are facing floods, local authorities should make sure that the weather warnings issued by the weather bureau reach at-risk communities ahead of time. That should be a priority.
Another important consideration is that people facing floods are urged not to believe any rumours when floods hit their areas. For instance, it is not correct that dams release water due to damage at dams. In the rainy season, all dams nationwide are monitored around the clock by engineers and staff. In fact, overflow water in dams goes through spillways into rivers.
The public is urged to keep a close watch on weather updates and warnings during the rainy season. In doing this, other resources include the Early Warning system, rescue and relief works, works on capacity building of relevant personnel, informing and educating the public, along with preparations for any disease outbreaks related to flooding and inundation.
Representatives from state and regional governments are obliged to coordinate with ministerial departments on works conducted, and to include in discussions if there are any requirements.

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