At least six people have been killed and thousands left homeless in flood disasters across Arakan State as this year’s monsoon sweeps the region.
A local civil society organisation in the town of Taunggup said four people died in the nearby village of Watkyeit on Saturday when they were swept away by the current as they attempted to walk across a flooded field.
“The incident took place around 6pm on 11 June. There was heavy flooding, and the current was very strong at the time they tried to cross the field,” said Zayar Kyaw of the Arakan Natural Resources and Environment Conservation Network.
He said the bodies of the victims were recovered the following morning by police and rescue workers in a palm grove just outside the village.
Khin Maung Htay, a lawmaker in the Arakan [Rakhine] regional parliament, said a nine-year-old girl drowned in the village of Thalumaw in Ann Township on Thursday.
“Her body was found drifting in the water on Friday. She was just nine years old,” he said, adding that it was thought she may have fallen down a pothole beneath the water.
The water level in Thalumaw was reported to be as high as six feet in certain areas after a levee gave way during a storm.
“The runoff in Gananpyin village in Ann Township destroyed eight homes, leaving them buried under silt,” said Khin Maung Htay.
“It’s not just this year’s monsoon season. The same thing happened last year as well.”
Many residents affected by the floods are now taking shelter at friends’ and relatives’ houses, but are said to be in need of official assistance.
Four bridges and several roads in the area were also destroyed by the floodwaters.
A sixth fatality, a 27-year-old man in the Rathedaung village of U-Ga, was killed on Saturday when he was struck by lightning.
The government’s Department of Relief and Resettlement has announced that 15 villages in Sandoway, officially known as Thandwe, have been inundated since 10 June. Local residents are reportedly being evacuated to safety on boats as roads connecting the coastal town have been closed due to floods.
Last Thursday, a whirlwind struck the village of Kyaukhoke in the Arakanese township of Minbya, leaving 169 locals homeless.