REPORTfrom Agence France-Presse Published on 31 Jul 2015
Major floods have killed at least 27 people across Myanmar and inundated the homes and fields of tens of thousands more, a disaster relief official said Friday, warning of further heavy rains.
Weeks of unrelenting rain has deluged swathes of northern and western Myanmar, trapping people in remote villages and stretching the country's already threadbare rescue capabilities.
Rising waters, flash floods and landslides have destroyed roads, railways, bridges and houses, according to a report in Friday's state-run Global New Light of Myanmar, which warned that a cyclone brewing in the Bay of Bengal was likely to bring further misery to coastal and western regions.
"As of Thursday, 27 people have died around the country and four are missing in the Mandalay region," Chumhre, the director of the Relief and Resettlement Department at the social welfare ministry, told AFP.
Around 150,000 have been displaced or had their livelihoods affected by floods, Chumhre, who goes by one name, added.
Authorities have asked people to move to safer places in the worst-hit areas of Kalay, in northern Sagaing region, and Sittwe, the capital of western Rakhine state, as flights to the city's airport were cancelled.
Rakhine already hosts some 140,000 displaced people, mainly Rohingya Muslims, living in exposed make-shift coastal camps following communal violence three years ago.
A resident from Bumay village on the outskirts of Sittwe said newly-built houses at several nearby displacement camps were flooded after storms on Thursday.
"People had to run for their lives. Some people are now sheltering at schools in Thechaung and Bumay villages," he told AFP, withholding his name.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said more poor weather was forecast.
"More people are likely to be affected by flooding and strong winds over the next few days, in particular in Rakhine State," OCHA said in a statement late Thursday.
The military is working with local aid groups to carry out rescue and relief operations, the UN added.
Kachin in the north and Shan and Karen states in the east have also been badly hit by torrential rain.