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Thousands of residents in Karen state have been relocated to shelters as fresh flooding continues to inundate Burma’s eastern borderlands.
According to locals living in Myawaddy along the Thai border, five residential areas in the town have been swamped by the Moei River’s rising tide.
More than 10,000 of the town’s residents have been evacuated from their homes and are now being provided with shelter at Buddhist monasteries located on higher ground, reported the Karen National Union (KNU)’s Major Saw Leh Mu who is stationed at a liaison office in Myawaddy.
“Ward-5 is now no longer accessible with small cars. Houses located on the low ground have been inundated, which is forcing residents to grab their belongings and flee,” said Saw Leh Mu.
Homes near the river’s banks were reportedly swept away, while wards 2 and 5 that are located on low-lying ground have experienced heavy flooding as monsoon rains continue to soak the area.
According to officials, the flooding has effectively halted trade that flows from the eastern border into inland Burma.
On the opposite side of the river in Thailand’s Mae Sot, the overflowing Moei River has forced the personnel at Mae Tao clinic to begin relocating their patients and evacuating their facilities.
“The water has been rising for the past two days – we have had flooding in the past but not at this level,” said Gay Paw, who works at the clinic.
Currently, all of Mae Sot’s schools have been closed along with the markets and factories located near to the river.
According to reports from Thai agencies, the flooding in the area is the worst in ten years.
In Karen state’s capital Hpa-an to the west of Myawaddy, residents in the town’s wards 1 and 2 have also been forced to flee their homes and take shelter at local monasteries as the Salween River’s waters flood the city, while officials briefly evacuated the local hospital in nearby Hlaingbwe town.
In Burma, the seasonal monsoon, which is responsible for a vast majority of the flooding in the region, typically kicks off in late May and dries up by the end of October.