Youth rush to help households as 10,000 affected by Myitkyina flooding
15 July 19 - Source: Frontier Myanmar
By EMILY FISHBEIN | FRONTIER
With water rapidly rising in several quarters of Myitkyina and residents packing and preparing to move, former drug users from the Care Hands Youth Reform Organisation, known in Jinghpaw as Ram Hkye Shalat,
Brang San, 20, was working with a team of 12 at the home and art gallery of Nhkum Brang, in Shatapru ward, to carry the painter's work to higher ground on Friday night.
"If the water comes, we will move everything," he told Frontier. "We will do what we need to do to help, even if it takes the whole night."
On July 10 the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology issued a flood warning, which said the Ayeyarwady River was within a few feet of reaching
The department also warned that the river could reach these levels within two days in Myitkyina and Shwegu, and three days in Bhamo, and urged people in low-lying areas to take precautions.
By July 11, much of Kachin National Manau Park in Myitkyina was submerged and the main gate was impassable. By the following evening at the park's riverside Lung Ga Pa Kachin Traditional Restaurant, only the thatched roofs of the restaurant's huts were visible.
Frontier saw flooding at two points along the key access road to Myitkyina airport, though flights continued. The fields between Shatapru and Tatkone wards were fully submerged; nearby roads were lined with pigs tied to poles and fences, their pens flooded over.
Other heavily affected wards were Myo Thit Gyi,
By Saturday evening, the water was receding, according to the Kachin State Government Office's Facebook page, which said that 10,303 people from 2,035 households had been affected, and that the flooding was caused by continued heavy rain in the northern Kachin townships of Putao, Hsawlaw, and Machanbaw, leading to a rise in the Ayeyarwady tributaries, the Malikha and N'Mai Kha rivers, which meet 45 kilometers north of Myitkyina.
Twenty-six temporary shelters had been established at schools, churches
The flooding, which exceeded 12
On July 13, Frontier accompanied about 40 Kachin youth as they traveled to flood-affected areas to deliver bottled water.
Volunteer Wun Zup Aung said he and other young people regularly convene for volunteer activities on short notice, connecting over phone and Facebook. He said the volunteering work is valuable not only for helping the
The group's first stop was
After delivering water to the IDPs, the youth waded through thigh-high water along the ward's back streets, checking on those who had stayed in their homes.
Next, the youth traveled to
On reaching dry land, they ventured out on foot to more flooded areas where
While many families had boarded up and left their homes, some had merely moved to the upper floors. Frontier saw a few people traveling by rafts fashioned from bamboo and empty jerry cans.
When asked whether she had enough food, one woman in
Frontier saw a few people traveling by rafts fashioned from bamboo and empty jerry cans.
By midday on Sunday, the floods had significantly receded.
Near Manau Park, tables were full at Café 60, which had been boarded up the day before due to a flooded kitchen. At the doorway to nearby 74 Cafe & Laundry, the last remnant of the prior day's ankle-deep water was a small, stranded fish.