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Deforestation exacerbated impact of floods


This year's monsoon floods in Myanmar, the most severe in a decade, affected an estimated 1.6 million people and killed more than 100. Almost 400,000 hectares of farmland, largely rice paddies, along with fish ponds and farm animals, were lost, VOA reported on 24 September.

Peter Brimble, an Asian Development Bank specialist in Myanmar, said deforestation was a factor.

“You look at the floods, and clearly the deforestation, at least in the mountains or the hills or in the deforested areas, led to some exacerbated impact of the floods," he said. "It seems pretty obvious.”

The U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization said Myanmar faces a crisis because an average of more than 540,000 hectares of forest cover have been lost each year since 2010.  

The London-based Environmental Investigation Agency said the illegal timber trade from northern Myanmar to China had reached levels near 900,000 cubic meters a year, close to levels not seen in a decade and despite an official trade ban.

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