San­i­ta­tion, public health woes plague flood vic­tims

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - – Trans­la­tion by Khine Thazin Han PHYO WAI KYAW HLAING KYAW SOE

Aye­yarwady River lev­els in Man­dalay have be­gun to re­cede, but res­i­dents in flooded ar­eas are up against a short­age of potable wa­ter and a lack of food as thou­sands re­main dis­placed.

HIGH waters along the Aye­yarwady River in Man­dalay Re­gion’s Amara­pura and Tada-U town­ships have be­gun to re­cede, but vic­tims of flood­ing in the area say they are not out of the woods yet, as san­i­ta­tion con­cerns linger and many re­main dis­placed.

Food and clean wa­ter sup­plies are still needed by some af­fected pop­u­la­tions, ac­cord­ing to U Than Aung, a mem­ber of the lo­cal ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fice of Shwe Kyat Yat vil­lage.

Man­dalay City Devel­op­ment Com­mit­tee is dis­tribut­ing drink­ing wa­ter via wa­ter tankers, U Than Aung told The Myan­mar Times yes­ter­day, adding that those in need were en­cour­aged to con­tact the mu­nic­i­pal author­ity by phone.

Public health also re­mains a con­cern, he said, as au­thor­i­ties have been un­able to ar­range enough mobile toi­let units for dis­placed pop­u­la­tions.

The sec­re­tary of the Maha Myat Muni Pagoda board of trus­tees, U Kyi Soe, said san­i­ta­tion wor­ries ap­plied to most wa­ter sources, in­clud­ing stand­ing wa­ter that re­mains in some homes de­spite the flood­wa­ters re­ced­ing.

“In my opin­ion, wa­ter from wells and lakes is not pure,” he said, adding that the pagoda board of trus­tees had col­lab­o­rated with wards’ el­ders to form a group to ad­dress the needs of flood vic­tims, from clean wa­ter and tem­po­rary toi­let pro­vi­sion to help­ing house dis­placed flood vic­tims.

“The do­na­tors were so nu­mer­ous when the waters were first ris­ing, but they are fewer now,” U Kyi Soe said.

While some peo­ple dis­placed by the high waters have been able to stay with friends or rel­a­tives, or seen tem­po­rary lodg­ing ar­ranged by hu­man­i­tar­ian or­gan­i­sa­tions, others have set up tents be­side the roads link­ing the city of Man­dalay to Sa­gaing and Tada-U town­ships. Ward el­der U Soe Myint from Pan Chee vil­lage es­ti­mated that more than 100 house­holds and 500 peo­ple had taken up shel­ter along the Man­dalay-Sa­gaing road.

“At my place [the wa­ter] is very deep. The wa­ter level is fall­ing, but it still re­mains 7 feet [2.1 me­tres] in depth. We stayed by stack­ing our beds. The do­na­tions from the [gov­ern­ment] de­part­ments have not reached here,” said U Kyaw Maung from Shwe Lay Ky­wat Thit vil­lage in Amara­pura town­ship, adding that two non-gov­ern­men­tal wel­fare groups had man­aged to reach his home by boat to dis­trib­ute drink­ing wa­ter.

He told The Myan­mar Times yes­ter­day that with their toi­let still un­der­wa­ter, his fam­ily was forced to defe­cate from a boat, adding to san­i­ta­tion con­cerns in the re­gion.

“In this year’s flood­ing, the mos­qui­toes are very plen­ti­ful,” U Soe Myint said. “We want them to spray mos­quito re­pel­lents. At the mo­ment, dengue fever is not a prob­lem but it could be as the mos­qui­toes are nu­mer­ous.” U Win Myat Aye, the Union min­is­ter for so­cial wel­fare, re­lief and re­set­tle­ment, said the gov­ern­ment is work­ing to co­or­di­nate with civil so­ci­ety to ad­dress flood vic­tims’ needs, seek­ing to make up for per­son­nel short­falls within his min­istry.

“The gov­ern­ment has enough fund­ing to con­tinue to pro­vide food un­til the peo­ple can re­turn home,” he said fol­low­ing a meet­ing with hu­man­i­tar­ian and so­cial wel­fare groups from up­per Myan­mar on Au­gust 6, though at the time the num­ber dis­placed and re­ceiv­ing gov­ern­ment ra­tions stood at just 230,000.

Ac­cord­ing to the UN Of­fice for the Co­or­di­na­tion of Hu­man­i­tar­ian Af­fairs, al­most 360,000 peo­ple na­tion­wide had been dis­placed by flood­ing as of Au­gust 8.

The Aye­yarwady River in Man­dalay last week hit its high­est wa­ter mark since 2004. At 1325 cen­time­tres (43.5 feet), an Au­gust 1 read­ing was well above the 1260cm mark des­ig­nated as the river’s “warn­ing level”.

Yes­ter­day, lower house MPs de­cided to forego their earn­ings for the day, do­nat­ing them to flood re­lief ef­forts.

Pyithu Hlut­taw Speaker U Win Myint col­lected K8.5 mil­lion from 426 rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

‘The do­na­tors were so nu­mer­ous when the waters were first ris­ing, but they are fewer now. ’ U Kyi Soe Sec­re­tary of pagoda trus­tees

Photo: Phyo Wai Kyaw

Homes in Shwe Law War Ma vil­lage re­main flooded.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.