Moei River floods Myawaddy Town – 25,000 evacuated in Karen State

The Moei River breeched its banks and flooded the Burma border town of Myawaddy and as many as 5,000 residents homes were affected by the floodwaters. It is estimated that as many as 25,000 people in Karen State have been made homeless by the floods.

Sources from a community-based group who are helping the flood victims said that the water levels in the town had reached dangerous levels and they expected the situation to worsen if the rain does not stop.

A Myawaddy resident who had to evacuate his home told Karen News the continuous raining pushed the water levels in the Moei River over the danger levels on July 28 and Myawaddy Town Sections 1, 2, 3,and 5 are flooded seriously.

“Only section 4 in Myawaddy hasn’t been flooded. Half of the town is flooded. In some lower places, the floodwaters have reached the roof tops.”

A government official who is in assisting the flood-affected people said that 13 rescue camps have been opened for the flood victims at monasteries – Tawyakhaung, Kyakettaw, Monkhaung, Kyaukponegyi.

“We all are cooperating for the people as much as we can. We are transporting the flood-affected people to the rescue camp by cars. Then, we need to be ready to rescue the next lot of people. We are keeping an eye in time on the rising water levels.”

Government departments, civil society groups and Karen armed groups are helping in the flooded areas by donating bags of rice, drinking water and other food stuffs. The groups in charge of the aid said that people affected by the floods need more food and drinking water.

U Moe Kyoe, chairman of the Joint Action Committee for Burmese Affairs told Karen News that the water has also flooded Awemoke village on the Thai side of the border. The village is home to many Burmese migrants who live there, close to the nearby Moei River around. U Moe Kyoe said as many as 1,500 people had to be evacuated to a nearby Thai monastery.

U Moe Kyoe explained that factories in Mae Sot had to close due to the flooding and as many as 20,000 to 30,000 Burmese migrant workers are not able to work and some have taken refuge on the top of the factory roof.

Burmese migrant worker right groups, said that U Kyaw Kyaw Lwin, Burma’s labour attaché from the Burmese Embassy in Bangkok said that he would visit the flood areas to take donated rations to the flood-affected workers in Mae Sot.

The Moei River divides Thailand and Burma separating Myawaddy from the Thai border town of Mae Sot. It has been estimated by local authorities that the floods have closed the border and have already resulted in a million-dollars-a-day loss in-trade between the two countries

Authorities in Burma estimate that as many as 25,000 people have been evacuated to temporary refuges after heavy rain flooded Karen State. Many of the flood victims are in isolated and hard to reach regions making it difficult for rescue workers to battle through floodwater to get to them.

Mr Chum Hre, from the Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Department told the AFP news agency that helicopters have been used to reach people.

“It is very difficult to reach some of the disaster–hit places because of the bad weather and landslides,” he said, adding that helicopters had been deployed.

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