More than 45,000 people affected by first monsoon flood

flood_2 Vehicles drive through floodwater on a highway near Kyauktaw township in Rakhine State on July 15. According to reports, thousands have been affected by floods in conflict-ridden Rakhine as heavy monsoon rains hit several areas of Myanmar. Photo - EPA

22 July 19 - Source: Myanmar Times - Flooding caused by the first monsoon of the season displaced more than 45,000 people, according to a statement issued by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs-Myanmar (OCHA) on Thursday.

Flooding has affected Kachin, Rakhine, Mon and Chin states and Mandalay, Sagaing, Bago and Magwe regions.

Many people have returned home, but more than 11,500 people remain at evacuation centres, as it has not rained for four days at higher altitudes and water is draining to lower-lying areas.

However, rivers are still overflowing their banks and remain at dangerous levels, upstream and downstream. Water flowing along the path of the Ayeyarwady River towards lower Myanmar poses a risk in Mandalay, Magwe and Pyay.

U Kyaw Moe Oo, director general of the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology, said July and August are among the heaviest for rainfall in Myanmar. This is the beginning of the monsoon season, and heavy rains are expected to continue across the region.

The OCHA said that in Kachin alone, at the peak of flooding more than 22,000 people were displaced, according to the estimates provided by the national Department of Disaster Management. In and around the state capital Myitkyina, Tanai and Waingmaw, 79 sites were opened to accommodate people affected by the floods, but most have since returned home.

In Rakhine, more than 9600 people were displaced in Minbya, Mrauk-U and Kyauktaw townships.

Farther upstream along the Kaladan River in Paletwa township of Chin, more than 1700 people were displaced. Nearly all of them have returned home, according to the OCHA.

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