Another storm tracking toward Myanmar
A storm warning was raised yesterday as a tropical depression formed over the Bay of Bengal and high waters previously affecting upper Myanmar began to wreak havoc downstream.
THE Department of Meteorology and Hydrology has raised its storm alert warning level to “orange” as a low-pressure area over the Bay of Bengal intensified into a tropical depression this week.
Though the depression is tracking west and is not likely to make landfall in Myanmar, Chin and northern Rakhine states are likely to be impacted.
“Rakhine and Chin can expect severe weather conditions such as strong winds, isolated heavy rain,” said U Kyaw Lwin Oo, deputy director of the DMH.
The department has further warned residents of the two states that severe weather conditions could trigger flooding and landslides, urging those living near rivers and streams to be vigilant.
“As the strength of the monsoon is moderate to strong, heavy rain is expected in lower Myanmar, including the [Ayeyarwady] delta region and Rakhine coastal area. More rain is predicted starting now through August 15 in those regions and rainfall is forecast to total 5 inches [13 centimetres] to 7 inches over the week,” U Kyaw Lwin Oo said yesterday.
The DMH’s colour-coded alert level was previously set at “yellow”, indicating that a storm has formed but is not moving toward Myanmar. Orange indicates the storm is tracking toward Myanmar; red indicates expected landfall within 12 hours; and brown means landfall has occurred.
The forecast for more heavy rains is likely to be met with particular concern by residents of Ayeyarwady Region, where high water levels previously reported on the upper reaches of the Ayeyarwady and Chindwin rivers have begun making their way into the delta.
While high water marks are receding in upper Myanmar, the DMH yesterday said the Ayeyarwady River in Hinthada and Zalun townships in Ayeyarwady Region reported waters 3 feet (0.9 metres) above danger marks.
Elsewhere in the region, the Toe River in Maubin township and the Nga Won River in Ngathaingchaung, Yegyi township, have also exceeded danger marks. Floodwaters from the Nga Won River have crept into several wards in Pathein, the Ayeyarwady Region capital, in recent days, said U Phyo Wai Kyaw, a senior official of the General Administration Department for Pathein township.
More than a dozen townships in Ayeyarwady Region are grappling with flooding, according to the regional Department of Relief and Resettlement, with Myanaung, Danuphyu, Yegyi and Thapaung hardest-hit.
“The residents do not want to move to other places as these areas face flooding yearly,” an official from the department told The Myanmar Times. “If their houses are high [on stilts], they stay there.”
According to the Ayeyarwady Region Department of Relief and Resettlement, as of August 9 more than 70,000 people from over 18,000 households had been impacted by flooding, with more than 300 relief camps set up for those displaced by the high waters.
In upper Myanmar, some displaced by flooding have returned home as waters have receded, while others remain in temporary housing elsewhere.
The Union-level Department of Relief and Resettlement lists Sagaing, Magwe, Bago, Ayeyarwady and Yangon regions, along with Kachin and Mon States, as impacted by flooding that began last month.
From July to August 9, the department said nearly 100,000 households and 419,330 people nationwide were victims of flooding, with five floodrelated deaths reported.
People wade through floodwaters in Mandalay Region.