Delta res­i­dents strug­gle to re­coup af­ter flood­ing

The Myanmar Times - - News - AUNG KYAW MIN aungkyawmin@mm­times.com

RES­I­DENTS of the delta had hoped flood-proof­ing mea­sures and early warn­ings would help to avoid a repeat of last year’s dis­as­ter. But with water fi­nally start­ing to re­cede over the past 10 days, they are sur­vey­ing the toll, and once again find­ing them­selves in thick of a mud-strewn vil­lage, with their fields de­stroyed soon af­ter plant­ing.

In Pan­tanaw township, Aye­yarwady Re­gion, res­i­dents are once again liv­ing on do­na­tions, U Bhone Win Aung, a vil­lage chief, said last week.Sein Kyun vil­lagers de­pend on their be­tel crop, and also weave mats or work as day-labour­ers in the fields, he said, adding that the delta can be flooded three times a year.

“We’re wait­ing for the next high tide, but we don’t know when it will come, or how high it will rise,” he said. The last tide had raised the flood­wa­ters to 9 feet [2.75 me­tres], ren­der­ing most of the homes un­in­hab­it­able. Only the vil­lage ad­min­is­tra­tor’s house, the high­est in the vil­lage, was left un­scathed.

“The worst thing is the loss of the be­tel fields, and the fact that our wo­ven mats have been de­stroyed. We had to build ex­tra stages on top of our houses,” he said.

The vil­lage ad­min­is­tra­tor, U Tin Zaw Khine, said the only aid that has reached them so far was from Grand Royal group, which pro­vided 68 house­holds with rice, noo­dles and water.

Grand Royal chair U Aung Moe Kyaw said, “We’re help­ing dis­as­ter­af­fected fam­i­lies with food sup­plies, work­ing closely with the re­gional gov­ern­ment through­out the flood zone.”

The lo­cal ad­min­is­tra­tion is sup­ply­ing two sacks of rice, to be shared with other vil­lages in the tract, res­i­dents say.

“When the floods came, we couldn’t cook, so we went into Pan­tanaw town and they gave us the rice,” said U Tin Zaw Khine.

Clean drink­ing water can be had only by pump­ing it up from tube wells, he said. He added that a sin­gle K80,000 hand-pump is cur­rently serv­ing 10 house­holds.

Vil­lage chief U Bhone Win Aung said more do­na­tions are needed to help sup­port fam­i­lies un­til they can re­sume work­ing.

“Our health is fine. But many vil­lagers will face un­em­ploy­ment even af­ter the floods re­cede be­cause they work as day labour­ers, so sur­vival is go­ing to be a strug­gle,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to data from the UN, 84,000 peo­ple in the Aye­yarwady Re­gion were af­fected by mon­soon floods in July and Au­gust, mak­ing it the third­worst hit state or re­gion this year.

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