1 Sep 18 - Mizzima - Floods from a dam breach in Central Myanmar has left four people dead and three missing, a ministry official confirmed Friday, the first casualties reported two days after a portion of the levee collapsed from heavy monsoon rains.
The deceased were three men and one woman, said Phyu Lei Lei Tun, a director at the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement.
"According to the information we got as of this morning, four people were killed and three went missing during the floods," she told AFP.
A large swathe of central Bago region has been inundated after the Swar Chaung dam spillway collapsed, causing a deluge of water to drain out of the levee into surrounding villages and farmland.
The intense flood waters devastated the rural flatland region where more than 60,000 people reside primarily in easily damaged bamboo and wooden houses.
While some were able to wade through chest-deep water on the first day to get to higher ground, many families are still stranded as search and rescue efforts led by the military attempted to reach them on Friday.
Phyu Lei Lei Tun confirmed that more than 36,000 people were displaced and residing in 68 temporary shelter camps set up in monasteries on higher ground.
This dam breach comes just weeks after a Laos dam collapsed, causing at least 35 people to be killed while scores remain missing.
Southeast Asia's monsoon season often brings heavy rains to the region, causing widespread flash floods in Myanmar that recently forced 150,000 people to flee their homes.