Village near Bagan evacuated as Irrawaddy floods

Village near Bagan evacuated as Irrawaddy floods

A village near the ancient site of Bagan in central Burma has been evacuated due to flooding after the Irrawaddy River burst its banks.

Local authorities said that 1,066 people from 265 households were evacuated, along with 342 cows and five horses, from the village of Sae Lan in Nyaung-U district on 3 September.

“We began relocating villagers as soon as the river began overflowing,” said Nyaung-U administrator Tin Htoo Maung. “Some people insisted on staying to protect their homes. But after the water reached thigh level, we made sure that everyone was moved out.”

Sae Lan is an island on the Irrawaddy, located 35km downstream from Pakokku, and only a few miles north of the bend in the river where the ancient kingdom of Bagan [formerly Pagan] and its thousand-year-old Buddhist temples are situated.

Tin Htoo Maung said that the evacuated villagers have been given shelter in a monastery in nearby Taung Be, where local philanthropists have arrived to offer supplies.

“There is a government clinic at the monastery, and various groups and individuals have come forward with donations, including food,” said Ko Min Naing, a representative of a Bagan civil society group.

As of Friday, water levels had dropped below danger level, and hopes were high that the villagers could be sent home in the coming days.

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