Flooding Displaces Thousands in Karen, Mon States

Five thousand people in Karen State and more than 1,000 people in Mon State have sought shelter in rescue camps.


Thursday, July 26, 2018
Persistent heavy rains have led to flooding and the temporary relocation of thousands of people in Karen and Mon states in recent days, according to the states’ disaster management departments.

Water levels have been rising in the Belin River in Thaton District since July 22, leading to flooding throughout four wards and two additional villages in Mon State. More than 1,040 people began seeking shelter in seven rescue camps on the evening of July 24, U Sithu Soe, director of the Thaton’s disaster management department, told NMG.

“As of this evening, the rain is still falling. The water level hasn’t decreased,” he said on Wednesday, describing the rains as unusually heavy. “If the rains were normal, there wouldn’t be flooding in this area.”

Ye Township has experienced similar flooding—more than 650 people from 159 families in two wards were moved to an athletic stadium to escape the heavy rains on July 24, local man U Aung Naing Win told NMG.

Water levels on the Salween and Thaung Yin rivers in Karen State have led to record flooding in Myawaddy, Hlaingbwe, and Hpa-an townships, with nearly 5,000 people being transferred to 19 rescue camps, a representative from Karen State’s disaster management department said.

According to government’s weather and hydrology department, the Salween River had risen three feet to what is termed its “danger level” on the afternoon of July 24, putting people living in nearby lowlands in danger.

Heavy rains are expected to continue through Friday, the weather and hydrology department has predicted.

The current bout of flooding is not the first of the rainy season: heavy rains in seven Mon State townships caused the deaths of three people and displaced 7,000 in mid-June.