Severe flooding drowns 1,000 homes in Hlegu

Severe flooding drowns 1,000 homes in Hlegu

About 1,000 homes have been inundated in Hlegu, Rangoon Division, after heavy rains flooded the Ngamoeyeik creek and the Pegu River.

“The water is about waist-deep in some areas,” said Phyo Min Thu, a lower house parliamentarian representing Hlegu Township. He said that about 3,000 people were affected in five villages: Ngwenanthar, Malit, Sinhpon, Sitpinmyauk and Yaekyaw.

While seasonal floods are common in the low-lying region just north of Rangoon, Phyo Min Thu said that abnormally heavy rainfall in recent weeks has caused extreme, protracted flood levels, with excess water sometimes remaining stagnant for up to ten days.

Emergency response measures for the thousands affected remain unclear.

[related]

More flooding is expected to hit Arakan State, Irrawaddy, Pegu and Rangoon Divisions as the monsoon season nears its peak, according to Tun Lwin, head of Burma’s Department of Hydrology and Meteorology.

Tun Lwin told DVB on Sunday that Bassein, Henzada, Maubin, Mingalardon, Pegu and Tharawaddy townships are likely to flood, as well as Kyaukphyu, on the Arakan coast; a prediction that he described as “alarming”.

Last year, about 50,000 people were displaced by flash floods in Pegu Division, according to the United Nations. In addition, some 60,000 acres of farmland were flooded, with about 15,000 severely damaged.

Undeveloped infrastructure, risk prevention and low capacity for efficient relief efforts remain a concern in many parts of the country. In a 2013 situation bulletin on Burma, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs stressed the need to “strengthen disaster risk reduction and preparedness activities to mitigate the impact of natural disasters on vulnerable populations in the coming years”.

Burma is one the most disaster-prone countries in the Asia Pacific, vulnerable to a range of hazards including floods, cyclones, earthquakes, landslides and tsunamis.

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