Thousands Flee Floods in Mon and Karen States

Residents of the Karen State capital Hpa-an and other affected areas have been urged to move to high ground.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Thousands of people in Mon and Karen states have been forced to leave their homes and seek shelter in temporary relief camps since the start of the week due to severe flooding, according to sources in the affected areas.

The flooding, which has spread across large parts of Beelin Township in Mon State and Hpa-an, Myawaddy, Kawkareik, Hlaingbwe, Hpapun, and Kyar-In-Seik-Gyi townships in Karen State, started on Monday after heavy rain hit the region.

Dr. Khin Naing Oo, the MP for Beelin’s constituency 1, said that more than 1,800 people from 380 families are now staying in 19 rescue camps in the township.

“We provided food in advance for 10 village-tracts in remote areas that are difficult to reach. Food assistance is not a problem. We are also preparing to provide food to people living in the municipal area,” Dr. Khin Naing Oo told NMG.

Four wards and six village-tracts in Beelin Township have been under water since August 5, forcing many local people in these areas to relocate to rescue camps later that day.

In Karen State, officials said that water levels in the Salween, Thaungyin and Zami rivers have been rising steadily, affecting people in six townships. So far, more than 2,000 people from Hpa-an, Kawkareik, Myawaddy, Kyar-In-Seik-Gyi, Hpapun, and Hlaingbwe townships are sheltering in camps, they said.

According to the government’s meteorology and weather forecast department, the Beelin, Salween and Thaungyin rivers had reached dangerously high levels as of August 6.

In Hpa-an, the Salween River was 2.5 feet above the warning mark and was expected to remain at 1.5 feet above the mark over the next two days, the department said, adding that people living in flat, low-lying areas should move to higher ground.

“Water is covering low-lying areas of wards 1, 2 and 5 in Hpa-an town. People have already moved to rescue camps. It’s still raining here, so water levels are likely to continue to rise in the area,” said Moe Aung, a volunteer in Hpa-an who spoke to NMG.

The Karen State chief minister, Nan Khin Htwe Myint, observed the flooding in Hpa-an, where a rescue camp has been opened at the Shwe Yin Myaw pagoda.

More than 20 schools in Karen State and 12 in Beelin Township have been closed since Tuesday.

In 2018, thousands of local people were relocated to rescue camps in Karen and Mon states after heavy rain caused flooding in many townships.