As Myanmar flooding recedes, 97,000 people remain in evacuation sites

17 August 2019
As Myanmar flooding recedes, 97,000 people remain in evacuation sites
Photo: Thura/Mizzima

Flooding continues to cause severe problems in Myanmar with Mon State severely affected, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) August 16.

Floodwaters are receding in many areas across Myanmar, with the number of people sheltering in temporary evacuation sites now below 100,000 people or 97,000 from a peak of more than 110,000 people on 13 August, UNOCHA reports. 

Mon State is severely affected, with huge tracts of farmland and entire villages submerged as water levels have not yet subsided. Over the next few days, more heavy rainfall is predicted for Mon State, Kayin State, and Taninthayi Region, each one already heavily affected.

As reported, on 9 August, the rains triggered a landslide in Paung Township, killing more than 70 people. The national, state and local authorities, supported by the Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS), local communities and civil society organizations have so far met the immediate needs of the population. In Mon, the authorities have signalled a need for additional boats, as the state’s total fleet for rescue and delivery of relief items only numbers 17. MRCS has also reported a need for additional boats.

Supplies of rice, instant noodles, hygiene kits, sleeping mats, mosquito nets and other basic supplies are being provided for. An inter-agency mission consisting of UN and humanitarian partner organizations visited Mon State 14-16 August, to find that with floodwaters likely to remain for more than one week, the need for assistance will continue. It was also found that more than 500 schools are now closed, and many will need to be completely rebuilt, according to UNOCHA.

Ongoing assistance will be needed in the recovery phase too, once the floods recede. According to the National Disaster Management Committee, more than 170 houses were destroyed, and many others damaged. Rice harvests have been lost and farmers will need seeds, tools and other support to recover their livelihoods. The stagnant waters and contamination of wells and water sources will also be a costly undertaking in terms of decontamination.