A week of extreme weather leaves 17 dead, thousands homeless

A week of extreme weather leaves 17 dead, thousands homeless

Nearly 60,000 people were affected by extreme weather conditions that hit many parts of Burma over the past week, including 17 who were killed and thousands more who were left homeless, according to government figures.

Information released by the government on Wednesday showed that a total of 59,239 people were affected by gale-force winds and hailstorms that hit Sagaing, Mandalay, Pegu, Magwe and Tenasserim divisions and Shan, Chin, Arakan and Kachin states between 21 and 26 April.

Nine people were killed in Sagaing Division, seven in Mandalay and one in Shan State.

In total, 1,862 houses were completely destroyed by strong wind and hailstorms, while 19,739 suffered extensive damage to their roofs. The Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement in cooperation with regional governments is carrying out relief work in the affected regions, the government said.

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Myint Htwe, a Sagaing Division MP, said that in Ye Oo, where he lives, many roofs were damaged were damaged by the recent hailstorms, but conditions have returned to normal

“The weather is clear now, though we had a bout of heavy wind the other day that lasted about 20 minutes,” he said.

“The Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement is providing relief in the area out of government emergency funds. It might not be enough to cover all the repairs as many houses were left with their roofs destroyed,” he added.

Meanwhile, many parts of the country continue to experience extremely hot and dry conditions, straining efforts to provide drought relief to rural areas where water for drinking and irrigation is in short supply.

The unusually severe weather conditions this years have been blamed on the El Niño effect, which is expected to last until June.  Similar conditions two years ago resulted in widespread crop failures, raising fears of a repeat of the same problem again this year.

Reporting by DVB

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