7 dead, 3 missing in Burmese flash floods

7 dead, 3 missing in Burmese flash floods

Seven people, including a baby, lost their lives and three are still missing as heavy flash floods hit rural areas of Mandalay and Sagaing divisions on Friday morning.

Speaking to DVB on Friday, Katha-based writer Hercules said that three people were killed when a flash flood swept them away in the middle of the night in Inn Daw Township in Katha, Sagaing Division.

“Torrential rains started at 2:55am on Friday and continued for about three hours. Rainfall measured 4.92 inches,” he said. “A strong flash flood developed from a mountain stream and it destroyed five houses. Two women were carried away in the current, a 58-year-old mother and her 20-year-old daughter. Their bodies were discovered among some bushes at around 10 the next morning.

“In the afternoon, the body of 47-year-old Ko Yan Aye was found. But nobody else has been reported missing. Some cows were killed, and lots of paddy fields were inundated. All the concrete and iron bridges in the area were destroyed.”

Hercules said that this was the worst flooding that Katha has ever endured.

The Katha news and information officer for the National League for Democracy (NLD), Shin Tant, told DVB that the whole town had been swamped by the flood.

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“At around 5:30am this morning a stream inundated the town and left most houses and the local market underwater,” he said by telephone on Friday. “Most areas were two or three feet underwater. We believe that the reason for the flash flood is the depletion of forests upstream [on the Irrawaddy River] in Kachin State.”

Flash floods and deaths were also reported in villages in Sinku Township in Mandalay Division.

Four people including a baby were declared missing after water broke through a small dam at a gold mine, said Sinku’s NLD information officer Maung Maung Win. He said that the body of the baby was later recovered.

“A joint-venture gold mine company had blocked the stream,” he said. “Local residents had previously told them not to do it, but they didn’t listen. When the torrential rains came down, the weight of the water broke the dyke and flooded the villages downstream. Silt and sand covered everything up to eight or nine feet deep.

“Four people were carried away in the current,” Maung Maung Win said. “The child’s body has been found but the others are still missing.”

This was the worst ever flood in Sinku, he said, adding that almost all of the 100 households in Yay Myat village were destroyed, and that he was still waiting for details of any casualties.

Several villages in Sinku, most notably Bone Thak Kone, were heavily impacted by a 6.8 earthquake which struck the Shwebo region in 2012, killing 13 people.

Burma’s national weather department had earlier in the week warned of heavy rain and landslides in some areas, including lower parts of Sagaing Region, due to a typhoon in the South China Sea.

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