Kyauk Khet villagers, devastated after losing their homes in last week’s floods are scared of rebuilding as weather authorities predict more heavy rain for the region.
Villagers watched in horror as last week’s heavy rain caused the Kyauk Khet River to break its banks and wash away 17 houses.
Kyauk Khet village located in Myawaddy Township, Karen State is split into two parts – the main village of Kyauk Khet and Lower Kyauk Khet. In total, Kyauk Khet village has over 109 households and lower part of the village 19. Villagers say only two of the 19 houses in lower Kyauk Khet were not destroyed by the floodwaters.
Villagers are scared to rebuild in case the heavy monsoonal would cause the river to flood again.
A lower Kyauk Khet villager, U Arr Noe spoke to Karen News.
“We dare not re-build our houses – we worry the floods will happen again. Currently, we are living in tents. It is not easy to get the thatches needed for house roofing even if we could rebuild our houses.”
The flood-affected villagers have taken refuge in a local monastery and on high ground. Villagers are trying to live by foraging for bamboo shoots, cutting down bamboo, making charcoal – some people have crossed to Thailand to find work as daily laborers.
A village leader, Saw Tun Khin said that a group of concerned people from Phopra Township, in Thailand donated medicine and mosquitos’ nets to the flood affected villagers.
“The Thai group gave us medicine for malaria, coughs and skin diseases. They also donated mosquito nets for each family. Even though the water level is now down, people have to drink the rain-water as all the fresh water wells have been flooded. We have had three cases of malaria since the flood, the patients are now receiving medical treatment.”
U Tun Khin added that five plots of corn plantations some are as large as 30 acres in lower Kyauk Khet village were damaged by the floods.
This is the first time Lower Kyauk Khet village has flooded. The recent heavy rain also flooded other areas in Karen State including Hpa-an, Kawkareik, Hlaingbwe, Kyarinseikgyi, and Myawaddy townships. Community based humanitarian organizations estimated that there as many as 70,000 people were affected by the floods in Karen and parts of Mon State.