Another storm track­ing to­ward Myan­mar

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - MYINT KAY THI my­in­tkaythi@mm­times.com – Ad­di­tional re­port­ing by Ye Mon Tun, trans­la­tion by Khine Thazin Han

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.

Photo: EPA

Peo­ple wade through flood­wa­ters in Man­dalay Re­gion.

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