River Moei floods – Mae Sot and Myawaddy under water

The River Moei broke its banks on the Thai Burma border today after heavy rains lashed the area over the last week. The commercial business district of Mae Sot is under heavy floodwaters. Many shops and restaurants have closed their doors as the floodwaters are expected to continue to rise.

Mae Tao Clinic had to shut its services down as many of its departments were flooded – water reached as high as chest level. A medic at the Clinic told Karen News that patient houses were flooded.

“The medicine in the storeroom needed to be moved to high ground. Patients are having difficulty getting into the Clinic. The reproductive health, the surgical department, staff accommodation and child health are all flooded.”

The MTC looks after as many as 140,000 migrant workers, refugees or people crossing from Burma for health care. A high school building at the Padeh School in Mae Sot district was destroyed in a landslide that smashed into the back of the five-classroom building.

Local authorities warned drivers to exercise caution as the heavy rain was wrecking havoc on road in and out of town.

The large covered market on the edge of the river at Rim Moei had to be closed as floodwaters poured through and covered the football-field-sized hall. Stallholders floated goods out in large plastic basins and one told Karen News that the waters are on the rise.

“Once the river broke we had no choice we had to move.”

A Mae Sot resident, Mr Somchai told Karen News that the floods have forced him and his family to evacuate their home.

“The water in our street was flowing fast like a river, it was up to my waist. In our house everything is floating. It took us by surprise. It came in very fast. I couldn’t move everything. Many things are ruined. I’ve experienced floods before, but this year is the worst.”

Mr Somchai said that he had no option but to move out of his flooded house.

“Luckily we could move in with relatives, but we are now without electricity, we are using candles.”

Across the River Moei, on the Burmese side of the Friendship Bridge that links the two countries, floodwaters swamped the immigration office. A tourist, M’s Ua-Min, crossing from the Myawaddy Town on the Burma side spoke to Karen News about the floodwaters she witnessed there.

“Myawaddy is flooded. The water was up to the Immigration Office doorway – that’s on high ground. Outside the office it was calf-high. From the [Friendship] Bridge you could see that the river water was chest high at the Thai Immigration Office.”

Ms Ua-Min said a woman crossing from the Burma side to Thailand had gone into labor.

“Thai emergency services picked her up and took her to the hospital. Many trucks were waiting to cross from the Thai side. Riverside restaurants on the Myawaddy side were under a lot of water.”

The northern office of the government’s Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department’s issued a warning that the heavy rain will continue in the district over the next few days. The Bangkok Post reported that the “department’s director general, Chatchai Promlert, said people affected by the heavy rain can call for assistance to the department’s hotline No 1784.”

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