More reports on: Environment

Myanmar declares emergency as flood toll rises to 88

10 August 2015

Myanmar has declared a state of emergency since the flood disaster since June has brought the death toll nationwide to 88 and affected more than 330,000 people.

According to the ministry of social welfare, relief and resettlement, most of the deaths were reported in western Rakhine state with at least 55 deaths there. The deadly flood also killed 4,650 cattle, displaced 85,400 people and destroyed 10,956 homes and more than 88,120 hectares of farmland.

Eight people perished in flood in Mandalay, followed by Sagaing region with seven and Shan state with six, while the death toll in Chin state, caused by landslide following torrential rain, had reached four.

Flooding has begun to move southwards and it is likely to expand and affect the southern part of the country.

Hinthada and Nyaungdon areas in southwestern Ayeyawaddy region are being threatened as the Ngawun and Ayeyawaddy Rivers had exceeded their designated danger level.

The ministry of agriculture and irrigation has announced that all dams across the country will continue to be under watch, confirming that none had broken. However, 41 dams were releasing excess water through their spillways while 21 had not exceeded their capacity.

Myanmar President U Thein Sein, in a radio speech to the nation, vowed that the government had made arrangements for restoring the normality of flood-hit areas as soon as possible by making the best use of financial and man power. The president said that the government is ready to assist farmers in ploughing their lands and provide them with seeds to grow rice.

Meanwhile, the Myanmar Rice Federation on Thursday decided to halt rice export until 15 September for domestic reserve in face of the severe flood. The one-and-a-half-month freeze is to ensure an adequate supply of rice for the domestic market and to maintain stability of rice. The federation added that a total of 170,000 bags of rice will be purchased from private sector to store as reserve.

Responding to Myanmar authorities' appeal, the United Nations and international organisations are bringing in their humanitarian flood assistance to the affected areas. Some countries including China, Japan, Norway, Singapore and Thailand have also pledged to provide emergency aid to affected victims.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government also announced offering emergency relief aid worth 10 million yuan (1.63 million US dollars) to help Myanmar's flood victims. Accordingly, China's largest non-governmental humanitarian organization, Blue Sky Rescue team, arrived in Yangon Tuesday to extend helping hand to Myanmar people affected by the flood.

With the relief aid worth of 300,000 US dollars, a Chinese flood relief mission, led by Ambassador Hong Liang, has visited flood areas of Sagaing region and Rakhine state and will proceed to Magway Region on Friday.

The aid includes 100 motorboats to be sent to flood-hit areas as soon as possible. Severe flood, triggered by heavy rainfall since June, has affected many parts of the country, destroying houses, farmland, railway lines, bridges and roads.

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