7 August 18 - ​During the period of Buddhist lent, Ma Su Myat Pan studying at Mandalay University went back to her native Thaton in Mon State for a well deserved break from the daily grind of her studies.

But what was supposed to be a fun-filled vacation before she sat for her university exam, turned into nightmare when catastrophic floods swept through her town and neighbouring townships.

Thousands fled as raging waters from the mountains swept through their homes. Roads were washed out stranding hundreds of buses in the highway.

But on July 29, Ma Su Myat Pan had to find a way to cross the flooded Bilin to go back to Mandalay to sit for exam in time. As luck would have it, she was able to hitch on rescue boats delivering food to thousands of refugees and made it in time for her examinations.

She shook her head when recalling her ordeal. 

 Floods are common in that region but normally the water level recede within two to three days. But this time, the flood remained for over 10 days.

"We have never seen such high level of water. It is like a sea. All the people were trying to leave Thaton. There were only a few rescuers. Not enough boats. Some were philanthropic boats and they carried the passengers to and fro. They also carried cargo. When I found those boats, I got onboard without any condition," Ma Su Myat Pan said.

Over 120,000 people across seven regions and states were forced to flee their homes. At least 10 people died and many remained missing.

"At refugee camp in Thaton, there are groups distributing food but we don't want to stay there because it is very crowded. All want to move out from there. People displaced from Myawady are also trapped there. All around us is water. So we wanted to move somewhere else," said Ma Su Myat Pan.

At the end of July, monsoon rain was still strong across the country and the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology warned of strong winds and heavy rains and rivers overflowing. 

 When The Myanmar Times arrived in Mon State's Bilin township on July 29, trucks fully loaded with commodity goods, passenger buses and private cars can't move forward because of flooding on Bilin-Mawlamyine highway.

"It has been nearly six days we have stopped," a driver murmured, biting his lips out of frustration.

Bilin is covered with water as far as the eyes can see. According to local residents, in some villages houses were totally submerged in floodwater.

Daw Kay Thi Oo, a resident of Bo Tay Za ward of Bilin, said that while the inside of their house was not reached by water because it was tall, they have to seek shelter at the refugee camp because they have no more food to eat as the flood had lasted for several days and showed no signs of receding.

In Yay Zlote Village, which is a 45-minute boat ride from Bilin, some 300 residents have been trapped in raging flood water.

"There is no way out from the village. The government rescuers hasn't come yet," said Sayadaw U Agga Wun Tha from Yay Zlote village, told the Myanmar Times reporter, who braved the raging water to reach the village.

We have been trapped here for four days. The problem is that we cannot buy food as we cannot go out of the village area," he said. 

When The Myanmar Times arrived in Mon State's Bilin township on July 29, trucks fully loaded with commodity goods, passenger buses and private cars can't move forward because of flooding on Bilin-Mawlamyine highway.

"It has been nearly six days we have stopped," a driver murmured, biting his lips out of frustration.

Bilin is covered with water as far as the eyes can see. According to local residents, in some villages houses were totally submerged in floodwater.

Daw Kay Thi Oo, a resident of Bo Tay Za ward of Bilin, said that while the inside of their house was not reached by water because it was tall, they have to seek shelter at the refugee camp because they have no more food to eat as the flood had lasted for several days and showed no signs of receding.

In Yay Zlote Village, which is a 45-minute boat ride from Bilin, some 300 residents have been trapped in raging flood water.

"There is no way out from the village. The government rescuers hasn't come yet," said Sayadaw U Agga Wun Tha from Yay Zlote village, told the Myanmar Times reporter, who braved the raging water to reach the village.

We have been trapped here for four days. The problem is that we cannot buy food as we cannot go out of the village area," he said. 


​Source: Myanmar Times