Myanmar – More Flooding as Rivers Rise in Ayeyarwady, Mon and Kayin

Heavy rainfall in Myanmar has caused rivers to rise and further flooding, displacing thousands of people in Ayeyarwady Region and Mon and Kayin States.

Floods in Myanmar, August 2019. Photo: Myanmar Government

According to local media, currently the worst hit areas are Hpa-An Township and Myawaddy in Kayin State (about 1,500 displaced), Bilin in Mon State (about 5,500 people displaced), and Myaungmya and Ngapudaw in the Ayeyarwady Region (about 500 displaced).

According to the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology, in a 24 hour period to 06 August, Pathein in Ayeyarwady recorded 174mm of rain, Hpa-an in Kayin 164mm and Thaton in Mon 167mm. Gwa in Rakhine State saw 227mm of rain during the same period.

The water level of Bilin River at Bilin in Mon State reached 10.29 metres, exceeding its danger mark of 10.22m. Levels of Thanlwin River in Hpa-An Township in Kayin State reached 8.50 metres, exceeding its danger mark of 7.50 m.

Further heavy rain is expected. According to the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology, a low pressure area over the northern part of the Bay of Bengal was forecast to intensify into a depression.

The Department warned; “Due to the low pressure area, rain or thundershowers will be widespread in Sagaing, Mandalay, Magway, Bago, Yangon, Ayeyarwady and Taninthayi Regions, Rakhine, Kayin and Mon States with regionally and isolated heavy falls and strong wind.”

Thanlwin river at Hpa-An, Kayin, Myanmar. Image: Department of Meteorology and Hydrology
Bilin river at Bilin, Mon, Myanmar 070819. Image: Department of Meteorology and Hydrology

Monsoon Floods in Myanmar, 2019

Several states and regions in the country were hit by heavy monsoon rainfall and flooding from around mid-July this year, beginning with Kachin and Rakhine states and Sagaing Region.

By 23 July, over 40,000 people were displaced and staying in 186 evacuation centres in Kachin, Rakhine, Chin, and Mon states, as well as Bago, Sagaing, Mandalay and Magway regions.

This figure increased further and the UN said that overall the monsoon floods cumulatively displaced more than 89,000 people across nine states and regions.

However, by late July to early August, many of those displaced had been able to return home, particularly in Rakhine, Mon and Chin states. According to a UN report (pdf), as of 04 August, around 26,000 remained displaced, mostly in Sagaing, Mandalay, Bago and Magway regions and Kayin state.