Myanmar – Thousands Displaced by Floods in Rakhine and Sagaing

Continued heavy rain across parts of Myanmar since early July has brought further flooding and landslide to six regions or states.

Rakhine state is the worst affected. Flooding and landslides have also recently been reported in Kachin and Chin states, and Magway, Bago and Sagaing Regions.

The flooding in the first 2 weeks of July follows a first wave of monsoon floods in June which left 14 people dead, and 26,000 affected in Ayeyarwady, Bago, Sagaing, Chin and Rakhine.

Rakhine State

In Rakhine, around 25,000 people have been displaced in the last few days according to the Rakhine State Government. The worst hit areas include Minbya, Ann, Mrauk-U and Kyauktaw.  There have been signs of the flood water receding allowing some to return to their homes, although further heavy rain has been forecast.

At least two people are reported to have died in the floods in Rakhine. Damage has been reported to bridges and roads, making access difficult for some villages. Over 5,000 homes have been damaged and hundreds of schools have been closed in the region as a result of the flooding.

The Myanmar Ministry of Information reports that the erosion of river banks is a cause for major concern in affected areas. Residents of Minbya say that recent flooding of the Laymyo River is seeing daily erosion of the river that runs through the town. A total of six households from Pyitawhla and Usawtint Wards within Minbya were swept away on between 07 and 08 July, while more than 50 other dwellings are reportedly at risk from falling into the river.

River bank erosion after floods in Rakhine, Myanmar. Photo: Myanmar Ministry of Information
River bank erosion after floods in Rakhine, Myanmar. Photo: Myanmar Ministry of Information

According to European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), “the Rakhine State Government is leading the response through the General Administration Department. Township Administrators are working in close collaboration with partners to deliver assistance to affected people. Various agencies/INGOs are conducting assessments. The State Government and partners are responding with emergency deliveries of food, water, hygiene kits, tarpaulins, WASH supplies and pond cleaning support.”

Sagaing Region

Democratic Voice of Burma reports that “approximately a thousand people have been evacuated to safety from around 200 homes in Latpadaung, in Sagaing Division’s Salingyi Township, after flash floods caused the Chindwin River to overflow.

“Residents from the villages of Tontaw, Ywarthit, Shwele and Aleywa were evacuated when their homes and ranches were inundated by floodwaters from the Chindwin, where water levels were about three feet above normal.”

Rivers and Rainfall

According to the Myanmar Department of Meteorology and Hydrology, as of 14 July, 2016, the Ayeyarwady River was above danger levels in over 10 areas including  Mandalay, Sagaing, Myinmu, Pakokku, Nyaung U, Minbu, Magway and Aunglan.

The Chindwin River is above danger levels at Kani and Minki, and the Ngawun River at Ngathaing Chaung.

Rainfall, 13 to 14 July 2016

Kachin

  • Putao – 64 mm

Rakhine

  • Kyauktaw – 72 mm
  • Sittwe – 45 mm
  • Thandwe -93 mm
  • Gwa – 83 mm
  • Ann – 125 mm

Bago

  • Taunggu – 59 mm
  • Bago – 83 mm

Rainfall, 12 to 13 July 2016

Rakhine

  • Thandwe -73 mm
  • Manaung – 103 mm

Mon

  • Thalon – 83 mm

Rainfall, 11 to 12 July 2016

Kachin

  • Putao – 72 mm

Rakhine

  • Maungdaw – 96 mm
  • Sittwe – 120 mm
  • Kyaukpyu – 158 mm
  • Thandwe – 67 mm

Forecast

Myanmar Department of Meteorology and Hydrology say that rain and thunder storms on 14 to 15 July “will be isolated in Lower Sagaing and Magway Regions, scattered in Mandalay Region and Chin State, fairly  widespread in Naypyitaw, Upper Sagaing Region and Kayah State and widespread in the remaining Regions and States with likelihood of regionally falls in Rakhine State and isolated heavy falls in Upper Sagaing, Bago, Yangon and Ayeyarwady Regions, Kachin and Mon States.”