Burma flooding deaths top 200

Officials in the flood-hit town of Pakokku in Burma say 215 people have been confirmed dead, but locals there warn the eventual figure could reach 300 once missing persons are accounted for.

A DVB reporter in Pakokku said an additional 1,700 people from that town alone are sheltering in local monasteries. In Seikphyu township in Magwe division, nearly 3,700 houses were inundated with floodwaters, almost 1,200 of which were swept away. Schools and monasteries have also been closed.

“The clearing of the town [Pakokku] is not finished, even after two or three days,” said our reporter. “The situation is still bad and some people are still salvaging corpses.”

He said that on Saturday, eight corpses were recovered from the flood waters. Three rescue centres have been set up in monasteries in the town.

The Rangoon-based Myanmar Times quoted township officials in Pakokku as saying that 215 people are confirmed dead. It added however that residents, “many of whom were still searching for the bodies of their missing relatives, told The Myanmar Times the death toll was likely to be almost 300”.

Another DVB reporter in Pakokku said that  rescue organisations put the figure for Pakokku, Myaing and Pauk closer to 500. “I can see collapsed places. What we saw up until yesterday were three children and one mother discovered while [rescue teams were] digging the sand. I also saw rescue workers taking out rotten corpses that died inside houses.”

He added that officials were seen confiscating memory cards from cameras “but they returned cameras. They also asked you to delete photos”.

A donation centre has opened at Thiwatha Rama monastery in Pakokku, but those who want to donate are required to notify officials one day prior, with information about the content and amount of material they will be handing over.

Reports on 20 October claimed a flash flood wiped away thousands of homes in a 100-miles radius in Magwe division. The exact cause of the flooding has not been confirmed, although speculation centres on a storm that came in from the Bay of Bengal coast before unleashing destruction on Magwe division.

Neighbouring Thailand is currently experiencing its worst floods in more than 50 years. More 350 have been confirmed dead and 110,000 displaced, while Bangkok braces itself for a potential costly month ahead.

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