Hundreds of families evacuated in eastern Burma as floods hit

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Houses and farmland in northern Shan state’s Lashio and Kutkai townships have been inundated due to constant monsoon rains over the past few days which have forced at least 60 families to evacuate their homes.

A local in Lashio said residential areas in the town were hit by flooding on Sunday and that waters did not recede until Tuesday.

“The water level rose to about three feet at around 8pm on Sunday and we had to evacuate our house,” he said, estimating that between 40 and 50 households in the vicinity were inundated.

He said that paddy and corn fields were waterlogged in the nearby villages of Nakum, Nahwe, Taungnaut, Einai and Khekham. A major highway connecting Shan state border town Muse and central Burma’s Mandalay was also a victim of the floods, some 300 vehicles forced to be abandoned along the roadside near Lashio.

In Kutkai about 20 families were evacuated after the Namkhai creek burst its banks.

Weather expert Tun Lwin had earlier warned of flash floods and landslides in Shan and Kachin states as a low-pressure cloud formed near the China-Laos border and headed westward at the weekend.

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Further south in Pegu, more than 600 residents were evacuated to monasteries and other shelters after floods struck the city. Local NGOs were on hand to offer relief supplies such as instant noodles and fish paste.

Local sources told DVB that in Hpa-an, flooding has affected the town since 21 August. Twelve relief shelters have been set up to accommodate displaced residents, according to local sources.

Relief measures were reportedly under way across Karen and Mon states on Monday after days of torrential downpours.

According to state-run The New Light of Myanmar, the Salween River and nearby Hlaingbwe Creek exceeded danger levels.

The report said that Burmese Vice President Nyan Tun led a government delegation including several ministers to flood areas in Karen state where they distributed cash assistance to villagers to buy paddy and saplings and to cover the cost of basic needs, education and healthcare.

The Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development has alerted those in the fishery industries to brace for further flooding.

The ministry has recommended that fishery operators reinforce ponds with sandbags, install protective netting to prevent fish and prawns from escaping, and be ready for evacuation orders.

Deputy-director Hnin Oo of the Myanmar Fisheries Federation said fishery operators in the Irrawaddy delta should be especially cautious.

Additional reporting by DVB reporter Naw Noreen

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