Monsoon flash floods blanket NW Arakan

Monsoon flash floods blanket NW Arakan

After a weekend of heavy rain, flash floods have inundated towns across coastal and northwestern Arakan State, forcing residents to evacuate their homes in Sittwe, Kyauktaw, Mrauk-U and Buthidaung. No casualties have been reported.

The highway connecting regional capital Sittwe to the historical site of Mrauk-U is underwater, leaving vehicles stranded, according to commuter Tin Ko Ko Oo.

Speaking to DVB by phone, he said, “We are now stranded on the road leaving Mrauk-U. We cannot get any farther and we cannot turn back.”

He said that they had been informed the water level would rise by about three more feet.

At least four villages have been flooded in nearby Kyauktaw Township, which sits on the Kaladan River and is a major sugarcane-growing region.

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Some 40 kilometres west of Kyauktaw, in the village of Theindan, in the predominantly Rohingya township Buthidaung, a reservoir was reported flooded and contaminated, leaving residents with no clean drinking water, according to a local Buddhist abbot providing relief in the area.

He said around 60 homes in the nearby village of Khahteela had been inundated, forcing residents to evacuate to higher ground.

In the main town of Buthidaung, floodwaters have affected several neighbourhoods and the main market, which has been closed down. Around 20 patients at the town hospital were moved to a government high school building on Tuesday morning as water levels continued to rise.

The Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH) has reported that towns along the Chindwin River in Sagaing Division are in danger as the water surpasses safety levels.

Celebrated Burmese meteorologist Tun Lwin, formerly head of the DMH, predicted via his Facebook page that monsoonal floods would soon blanket all of western Arakan State, as well as the Chin, Sagaing and Kachin regions, with “pockets of heavy rain” forecast for Shan and Karen states. He warned local people in affected areas of possible landslides.

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