U Bein Bridge closed to pedes­tri­ans amid flood­ing

The Myanmar Times - - News - PHYO WAI KYAW phy­owaikyaw@mm­times.com HLAING KYAW SOE hlaingkyaw­soe@mm­times.com

A SUD­DEN, rapid in­flux of wa­ter into Man­dalay’s Taungthaman Lake has forced au­thor­i­ties to block ac­cess to the city’s famed U Bein Bridge. Bar­ri­ers were erected on both sides of the bridge to block pedes­trian ac­cess on Au­gust 1 after the wa­ters of the lake rose al­most to the level of the bridge walk­way.

This is the first time since 2004 that the bridge has been closed be­cause of the threat of flood­ing. The cause is the sud­den in­flux of wa­ter from the Aye­yarwady River.

U Nyat Gyi, sec­re­tary of Taungthaman Boat As­so­ci­a­tion, said, “On the af­ter­noon of July 31 the level of the Aye­yarwady River sud­denly rose. The east and west en­trances of U Bein Bridge were closed off by wooden bar­ri­ers at 9:30am the next day in or­der to pre­vent ac­cess. The wa­ter is still ris­ing.”

Lo­cal res­i­dent U Kyaw Soe, of Shwe Goon Toot ward near the bridge, said the river had risen 2 feet (0.6 me­tres) over the dan­ger level as wa­ter en­tered through Sa­gaing Myit Nge River into the lake. Traf­fic has been banned from the west or­bital road of Taungthaman Lake lead­ing to the bridge.

“The lake wa­ter is al­ready thigh­deep on the or­bital road. Aye­yarwady River wa­ter has been flood­ing into the lake all night since mid-af­ter­noon yes­ter­day. Four town­ships around the lake and the bridge are also flooded,” he said on Au­gust 1.

Some visi­tors have taken to boats to row along be­side the bridge, some stretches of which have al­ready been swamped.

“In 2004, some of the bridge’s pil­lars were swept into the wa­ter dur­ing the flood­ing at that time. So far the present flood­ing is not as bad, but it could be if it keeps ris­ing over the next few days. In 2004, it took al­most a month for the wa­ters to re­cede,” said U Nyat Gyi.

The city of­fi­cial U Bein, a clerk to the Mayor of Amara­pura town­ship, used more than 1000 teak pil­lars to build the bridge that bears his name about 160 years ago. Sun­set views from the bridge are a ma­jor at­trac­tion for for­eign and do­mes­tic visi­tors. As of Au­gust 1, two stretches around pil­lar num­ber 220 were un­der­wa­ter, and in most of the rest of the bridge the wa­ter had reached the top of the pil­lars.

– Trans­la­tion by Emoon

Photo: Phyo Wai Kyaw

Wa­ter rises to the level of famed U Bein Bridge on Au­gust 1.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.