The Karen State Chief Minister, U Zaw Min, said on August 7 that as many as 6,000 people have been left homeless after severe flooding in Hpa-an Town area of Karen State.
U Zaw Min, told Karen News that the heavy rains that had deluged the country since July had caused the Salween River to finally flood.
“There are over 5000 and up to 6000 refugees in eight emergency camps that we have set up. The refugee numbers, include people from the western Salween River area.”
Local residents say the flood warning levels in the Salween River, near Hpa-an Town, had been rising since the end of July and had started to flood and swamp nearby houses.
According to State Chief Minister, U Zaw Min, people from the flooded regions were evacuated to temporary shelters in emergency camps and provided with health care by medical teams from the state level government and the Burma Army.
Flood-affected people in the temporary shelter received rice from the World Food Program and cooking pots, blankets and food from groups organized by the government. Minister, U Zaw Min, told Karen News that the government would provide food for a week to people who are forced out of their homes by the floodwaters.
There are nine housing quarters in Hpa-an Town – quarters no (1), (2) and (5) are completely swamped by the flood waters and residents are unable to go return to their homes despite a small drop in the water levels in recent hours.
An Hpa-an town resident who lives beside the Salween River told Karen News. “The water levels have started to drop a little now, but we are unsure if it will continue to drop because there is still a lot more rain coming in the next month.”
The Monsoon season in Burma normally runs from late April to early October. Floods and landslides are common in this period and in severe weather conditions, cyclones occur.
Other areas in Karen state also affected by flooding are – Hlaingbwe, Kama Maung, Shwe Gone and Kyain Seikgyi Township but government don’t opened rescue camps yet.
In recent weeks flooding has occurred in the Irrawaddy, Pegu, Tenasserim and Rangoon areas and in Karen, Mon and Arakan states.