150 homeless as whirlwind sweeps through Rangoon

One hundred and fifty people have been made homeless in Mingalardon Township, Rangoon, after a whirlwind swept through the neighbourhood on Monday morning.

The strong wind flattened 30 houses in Bawga ward and brought down several electricity poles. One person was injured in the freak storm.

“I saw a dark cloud coming down around 6:50 in the morning so I started yelling to my brother-in-law and my mother, ‘The wind is coming!’ Just as we were fleeing, we saw my brother-in-law’s house ripped up. The whole incident only lasted about three minutes,” recalled one Bawga resident.

Most of the houses in the area were made from bamboo and were too flimsy to resist the strong wind.

Once the storm passed, more than 100 soldiers from the nearby army battalion helped to clear the debris.

Weather expert and former head of the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, Tun Lwin, said the summer monsoon would bring more unpredictable weather.

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“There have been unusual weather patterns lately due to an unpredictable monsoon, especially in the Andaman Sea and the east-central region of the Bay of Bengal, where heavy raincloud formation was seen,” he said.

The storm passed through several other townships in Rangoon that morning, including Hlaing Tharyar and Shwepyithar.

In April, a whirlwind wiped out 150 homes and 130 acres of farmland in Shan State, near the popular tourist destination Inle Lake.

 

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