http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/world/myanmar-battles-rising-floodwaters-after-landslide-kills-52/article/555699

Myanmar battles rising floodwaters after landslide kills 52

Posted Aug 11, 2019 by AFP
Myanmar troops and emergency responders scrambled to provide aid in flood-hit parts of the country Sunday after rising waters forced residents to flee by boat and a landslide killed at least 52 people.
Floodwaters have submerged more than 4 000 houses in Myanmar's Mon state
Floodwaters have submerged more than 4,000 houses in Myanmar's Mon state
Sai Aung MAIN, AFP

Myanmar troops and emergency responders scrambled to provide aid in flood-hit parts of the country Sunday after rising waters forced residents to flee by boat and a landslide killed at least 52 people.

Every year monsoon rains hammer Myanmar and other countries across Southeast Asia, submerging homes, displacing residents and triggering landslides.

But this season's deluge has tested disaster response after a fatal landslide on Friday in southeastern Mon state was followed by heavy flooding that reached the roofs of houses and treetops in nearby towns.

Hundreds of soldiers, firefighters and local rescue workers were still pulling bodies and vehicles out of the muddy wreckage of Paung township on Sunday.

Rescue workers have recovered 48 bodies from the landslide in Mon state and are searching for more v...
Rescue workers have recovered 48 bodies from the landslide in Mon state and are searching for more victims
Sai Aung MAIN, AFP

"The latest death toll we have from the landslide in Mon state was 52," Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun told AFP.

As the rainy season reaches its peak, the country's armed forces are pitching in and have readied helicopters to deliver supplies.

"Access to affected regions is still good. Our ground forces can reach the areas so far," Zaw Min Tun said.

Heavy rains pounded other parts of Mon, Karen and Kachin states, flooding roads and destroying bridges that crumbled under the weight of the downpour.

The death toll from a landslide in Mon state  Myanmar  has reached 52
The death toll from a landslide in Mon state, Myanmar, has reached 52
Ye Aung THU, AFP

But the bulk of the relief effort is focused on hard-hit Mon, which sits on the coast of the Andaman sea.

About two-thirds of the state's Ye township remained flooded, an administrator said, as drone footage showed only the tops of houses, tree branches and satellite dishes poking above the waters.

- 'We thought we were dead' -

Families realised they had to leave in the early hours Sunday, packing possessions into boats, rowing towards higher ground or swimming away.

Than Htay, a 40-year-old from Ye town, told AFP that water rose to their waists around 02:00 am and she and her family members started shouting for help.

But the bulk of Myanmar's flood relief effort is focused on hard-hit Mon state
But the bulk of Myanmar's flood relief effort is focused on hard-hit Mon state
Ye Aung THU, AFP

The heavy rains muffled their pleas but a boat happened to pass by and gave them a ride.

"That’s why we survived. We thought we were dead,” she said.

Another resident said this year's flooding was the worst they had experienced.

Floodwaters have submerged more than 4,000 houses in the state and displaced more than 25,000 residents who have sought shelter in monasteries and pagodas, according to state-owned Global New Light of Myanmar.

Families in Myanmar's flooded Mon state are packing possessions into boats  rowing towards high...
Families in Myanmar's flooded Mon state are packing possessions into boats, rowing towards higher ground or swimming away 
Ye Aung THU, AFP

Vice President Henry Van Thio visited landslide survivors in a Paung township village on Saturday and "spoke of his sorrow" while promising relief, the paper reported.

The search for victims continued later Sunday though the rain has made the process more difficult.

“We are still working. We will continue searching in the coming days as well," Paung township administrator Zaw Moe Aung said.

About two-thirds of Ye township in Myanmar's Mon state remain flooded
About two-thirds of Ye township in Myanmar's Mon state remain flooded
Ye Aung THU, AFP

Climate scientists in 2015 ranked Myanmar at the top of a global list of nations hardest hit by extreme weather.

That year more than 100 people died in floods that also displaced hundreds of thousands.