Bangkok: Flooding triggered by heavy monsoon rains in Myanmar’s southern areas has displaced more than 10,000 people and disrupted traffic on the rail lines that connect the country’s biggest cities, officials and state-run media said Monday.
A senior official at the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, Lay Shwe Zin Oo, said constant rainfall in the Bago region that began last week caused flooding in the low-lying areas of its capital, Bago township. She said there were no casualties reported so far, but that more than 10,000 people had to abandon their homes.
Bago township recorded 7.87 inches (200 millimeters) of rainfall, its highest level in 59 years, Myanmar’s Meteorological Department said Sunday. Rain or thundershowers was forecast for across the country until Monday evening.
One of the leaders of an emergency rescue team in Bago told The Associated Press that the flooding was at least 7-8 feet (2.44 meters) deep in low-lying areas and 3-4 feet downtown.
“Almost the whole area of the town was flooded,” That Zin Maung, chairman of the Mizzima Thukha Charity Foundation said by phone on Monday. “It is the third flood in the town this year and the worst in many years. All the monasteries in the town have opened relief camps. Charity organizations are evacuating people from low-lying areas as much as they can.”
A 55-year-old resident of Bago’s Pan Hlaing ward interviewed by phone said the flood waters were about 5-6 feet deep in her neighborhood, and her family members were living on the second and third floors of their house.
The woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity because Myanmar's military government prefers to tightly control the release of information, said the water was still rising steadily in her neighborhood, which had never flooded badly before.
Social Welfare Ministry official Lay Shwe Zin Oo said people were sheltering in 32 relief camps, schools and Buddhist monasteries in Bago, while the authorities were providing food, drinking water and other essential assistance.
Reports in the state-run Myanmar Alinn newspaper on Monday said trains that departed from Mandalay, the country’s second-largest city in central Myanmar, and from southern Mawlamyine township were halted en route. Scheduled departures from Yangon, the biggest city in the country, were canceled after rail lines were flooded by the rapid flow of water from mountain torrents and the spillage from dams in the Bago region.
Myanmar Alinn also said some neighborhoods in Kyaikto township in southern Mon state were flooded by water from mountain torrents, and 555 people there were taking shelters in three relief camps on Sunday.
Myanmar experiences extreme weather virtually every year during the monsoon season. In 2008, Cyclone Nargis killed more than 138,000 people. In July and August this year, floods in Mon, Kayin and Rakhine states and the regions of Bago and Magway killed five people and displaced about 60,000.