Hlegu village overwhelmed by sustained floods

A village in Rangoon Division’s Hlegu Township has been inundated by floods for the past two weeks, with no sign of water levels abating due to a block in the drainage system.

Hlegu Township has been hit especially hard during this rainy season due to its proximity to the Ngamoeyeik Creek and the Pegu River. More than 1,000 homes and 3,000 people have been affected in Ngwenanthar, Malit, Sinhpon, Sitpinmyauk and Yaekyaw villages.

However, for Tadagyi, a largely rural village on the outskirts of Rangoon that is referred to by locals as Balar, the problem lies in the drainage systems, which has been blocked by aquatic plants. Residents are demanding that authorities construct a new piping system – which would be about 3,000 feet long – to resolve this seasonal issue.

“As the land is wet all season, the weeds keep multiplying and it blocks the drains off,” Tun Tun, a resident of Tadagyi village, said. “Now, it’s the worst since there are other types of shrubs growing. The only way to get the water out of our village is to construct a new draining system.”

Water levels have reached as high as the villagers’ hips, and the residents travel around Tadagyi in a boat. Village administrator Zaw Tun said that this season has brought a higher volume of rains. Combined with the overflow from rivers in neighbouring villages, he said, Tadagyi is in urgent need of government assistance. Hlegu Township officials recently visited the area to survey the damage.

“There has been more rain this year than last year, and the flooding in the rivers around the region is also an added factor to this situation,” Zaw Tun said. “With the water hyacinth [which blocks the drainage system], the villagers can clear that up themselves. But with this other type of plant, they need help from the authorities.”

Other areas in Burma within range of major rivers, such as the Salween River and Sittwe River, are expected to suffer more severe floods, but the water levels are expected to subside more quickly, according to an official from the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology.

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In Karen State’s capital of Hpa-an, residents were hit by floods on Monday due to overflowing from the Salween River, and water levels remained at 6 cm above the warning level, while flood-hit residents of Pegu Divison’s Madauk saw water levels reach about 20 cm due to its proximity to the Sittwe River.

The official said that these water levels will start abating after 48 hours, and that these areas are prone to floods in August.

In Mon State, heavy rains in Thaton, Kyeikhto and Bilin towns have led to fatal floods, with one woman killed during a landslide when shop stalls collapsed in Kyaikhto’s Kyeikhtiyo Hill – the site of the famous Pagoda on the Golden Rock.

Khin Saung, a local physician in Kyaikhto, said that around 800 residents have been evacuated to flood shelters.

“The road, flooded by downhill stream water, now cannot be used for small vehicles as the current is too strong. A residential area next to the road was also inundated and around 800 residents were evacuated to the flood shelter in a nearby monastery,” said Khin Saung, adding that the water on the road begun subsiding on Wednesday morning.

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