Hpakant flooding sweeps hundreds of houses in downtown wards

Photo Flood hits in Hpakant’s downtown wards

​3 July 18Hundreds of houses situated in four downtown wards went under water after flooding yesterday in Hpakant and Lonekhin regions, Kachin State.

The flooding is the highest record in 2018. As the bridges crossing Uru River in Lonekhin and Hpakant are in flood, the various organizations remove the debris aiming not to break the flooded bridges. 

"Lonekhin bridge is now in flood as well as the deep of water level at the main road in the village is over 6 feet. Hundreds of houses were flooded. Hpakant suffered the flooding since the beginning of 1997 so also it faces flooding every year as Uru creek floods. The cause of flood is linked to the disposal of waste soil from the jade mining, which impeded the flow of water," said Law Kham from towns elder from Lonekhin village. 

MP Dashi La Seng from Hpakant Township, Kachin State, said weak management has failed to address the damage caused by jade mining and demanded a committee to supervise restoration work. 

"Villages near the Uru River suffered from floods each year during the rainy season the sludge the sludge should be dredged up. Although the River Route Clearance Committee has been formed, the committee has no power. Therefore, the ratio of silt dredging and disposal of waste soil to the creek is nearly the same. If government can control the waste dumps, it is gradually easy until coming years," said MP Dashi La Seng. 

"The increase of Uru River's floor causes the annual flooding in Hpakant region. Under the guidance of the Ministry of Resources and Environmental Conservation, the jade mining company based in Lonekhin village is now carrying out the conservation of Uru River together with the townselders and partnership companies. That's why jade companies systematically throw the waste soil but the waste dumps collapsed into the Uru River. When the companies dug the gems, they must be drawn the Environmental Maintenance Programs including clearance services of the Uru River and monitoring of waste dump. So, there is no plan to form the committees on Creek Clearance and waste dump monitoring like the development affairs committee," said H La Aung, Kachin State Minister for Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation. 

Decades of massive mining have damaged the country's jade centre. 

Some firms stopped mining when the government refused to extend their licences, but the remaining firms expand their businesses with more machinery. The expired licences didn't apply to high-profile sites and mines in Lonekhin village had been expanding by the day, worrying villagers according to the Lower House MP Tint Soe of Hpakant. 

The jade mining industry existed in Hpakant region on a manageable scale since the beginning of ancient Myanmar kingdoms to 1994 before gaining the peace with the Kachin Independence Organization. 

After 1994, over 500 Jade Mining Companies started utilizing heavy machineries in the jade until the end of May, 2012. Due to commercial exploitation of jades, about 50 mountains and creeks had disappeared in Hpakant region, which also contributes to floods as well as higher temperatures. According to the government records released in May, there currently are 1,879 private jade mining plots and 79 joint-venture plots in Lonekhin jade land in Hpakant Township.

​Source: Eleven Myanmar

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