6 Killed in Myanmar Floods, 8,000 Forced to Evacuate

Around two weeks of heavy monsoon rain has resulted in flooding in several areas of Myanmar leaving at least 6 people dead and over 8,500 forced from their homes.

ASEAN Coordinating Centre For Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Centre) reports that over 8,500 have been evacuated so far, with an estimated 13,000 people affected, most of them in Rakhine. Kayin state and Tanintharyi region have also been affected.

Local media reports say that at least 5 people have died in floods in Rakhine state and another in Tanintharyi region.

ECHO, the EU Humanitarian department, report that several farmers have lost their recently sowed rice paddy. There is a risk of increase in severe acute malnutrition rates.

Humanitarian Assistance

ECHO say that a damage assessment is currently being carried out by government and UN agencies.

Myanmar Red Cross is currently working alongside local authorities to assist affected communities. Red Cross volunteers are evacuating families to safety, distributing food and water, and first aid kits in Buthidaung township which include blankets, mosquito nets, basic kitchen utensils and other essential items. Further relief stocks will be distributed in the coming days in the township of Thandwe.

“The floods have triggered landslides in some areas. It impacts access to roads and bridges, so unfortunately it hinders our relief efforts, but we are also used to these challenges,” adds U Maung Maung Khin. “We will continue to do our best to those who are in need of help,” he says.

The numbers of those affected is expected to rise as further heavy rainfall is forecast.

“The figures are expected to increase in the coming days, as Red Cross assessment teams access remote areas of Rakhine affected by the flooding,” explains U Maung Maung Khin, head of disaster management for the Myanmar Red Cross Society.

Rainfall

The rains are associated with the Southwest Monsoon, which mark the start of the rainy season in Myanmar. It usually starts around May or June and continues until October. August is often seen as the most severe month for flooding.

Neighbouring parts of Bangladesh, in particular Cox’s Bazar and neighbouring Bandarban have also seen heavy monsoon rainfall in the last 2 weeks, resulting in floods and the deaths of at least 20 people.

Heavy rain has been falling across parts of Myanmar for almost 2 weeks. On 29 June around 132 mm of rain fell in 24 hours in Sittwe, Rakhine State. Later, Kyaukpyu, also in Rakhine State, saw 120.9 mm of rain fall in 24 hours between 02 and 03 July 2015, according to WMO figures.

Myanmar’s Department of Meteorology and Hydrology is forecasting more rains in the next few days in the upper Sagaing and Tanintharyi Regions, Kachin, Kayin and Mon States.