Mon Minister Warns of Landslide Risk in Poung Township

Monday, September 23, 2019

Six weeks after a deadly landslide claimed at least 70 lives in Mon State’s Poung Township last month, the state’s government is warning that another 21 sites in the area have been found to be at high risk of a similar disaster.

Dr. Min Kyi Win, Mon State’s minister for natural resources and the environment, said that the discovery was made by geologists who visited the area in the wake of the August 9 landslide in the village of Thae Phyu Kon.

“The geologists’ observational report showed that landslides can occur at 21 locations in Poung Township. They have already occurred at 14 of these locations, where there is still a possibility of further landslides,” Dr. Min Kyi Win told NMG.

According to the minister, geologists discovered numerous fault lines in the mountainous Muttama Forest protected area, which is highly prone to landslides.

Last Thursday, during the 14th session of the Mon State parliament, state MP Zaw Zaw Htoo asked about the government’s “action plan” to deal with the potential for deadly landslides like the one that happened in Poung Township last month.

In response, Dr. Min Kyi Win said that the government would use the geological report to inform the public of the risks of remaining in the area. He added that some houses might be relocated if necessary.

Living on slopes or at the base of hills is dangerous, as is digging in areas with a history of landslides, he said.

Geologists have recommended that the government provide clear guidelines to people living in at-risk areas through their village administrators—a view echoed by MP Zaw Zaw Htoo.

“The minister says there are 21 possible landslide locations. The Mon State government should officially inform people about it. People living there are in danger. We are worried about the lives of our people in the area,” Zaw Zaw Htoo told NMG.

The landslide at Thae Phyu Kon occurred after days of heavy rain on Ma Latt Hill caused the hillside to collapse, destroying dozens of homes and killing entire families.