Monday, 18 November 2019

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Flooding hits at least 15 villages in Natmauk

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – After two days of heavy rain and the opening of local irrigation dams, at least 15 villages in Natmauk Township in Magway Region have been flooded and crops are spoiled, according to area residents.
Authorities opened the water gates of the Saddan, Palin, Sunchaung and Natmauk irrigation dams located near Natmauk and Myothit in central Burma.

More than 15 villages including Takkon, Htanyin, Magyigonlay, Palin and Palinpyargyi were flooded. Paddy fields, pigeon pea, mung bean and peanut fields were inundated and spoiled.
An area resident said, “Because of the strong current at the height of a man’s chest, a stone wall collapsed at the monastery in Takkon Village, and the current carried four homes away. Many paddy fields and bean fields were flooded.”
Water from the Palin dam flowed to Myothit, 10 miles from the dam. Four Wards including Butagon Ward in the eastern part of Myothit were flooded. The water level reached four inches. Schools have been closed in the area.
“We can’t do anything. We can’t go outside. We have to cook on the upper story. I’ve never experienced a flood like this,” a resident in Myothit told Mizzima. Meanwhile, some residents blamed the authorities for not properly maintaining the irrigation canals.
Similarly, in southern Shan State, paddy fields in about 30 villages including Naung Hlaing village, Kuyin Village and the Taungbogyi village-tract were flooded after the Mongbye dam’s water gate was opened. Shan, Pa-O, Padaung, Kayan, and Karenni live in the villages.
“The villages are located on the hills, so they were not flooded. In previous years, the water level did not reach this year’s level, but some paddy fields were spoiled. This year, we didn’t think that the water level would reach this high. Many maize and bean fields were spoiled. It’s difficult to estimate how many acres of farms were spoiled,” Ma Ku, a resident, told Mizzima.
Some wards in Loikaw, the capital of Karenni State, which is located downstream of the Mobye dam, and Phayaphyu, Phayarni wards in Loikaw Township and Phaungtaw village in Demoso Township were flooded, forcing residents to take refuge in the hills.
Union Solidarity and Development Party MP Kyaw Swe of Karenni State said wards including Shwetaung, Shanpai, Dawnukoe and Minzu in Loikaw, which are located east of  Blue Creek flowing across downtown Loikaw, and some houses in Nankutsa Village, experienced floods for more than one month.
“Some houses are flooded and some residents are taking refuge at their relatives’ homes and in schools. The flood waters have not subsided for a long time, so they cannot work,” Kyaw Swe told Mizzima.

On Tuesday morning, authorities announced on loud speakers that the water level is likely to rise further.

The Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), the National Unity Party, the Kayan National Party and NGOs are donating food and clothes to the flood victims.
But, more aid is needed, Kyaw Swe said, and a plan for the rehabilitation of homes when floodwaters subside.

The Karenni Development Research Group on Tuesday issued a report urging the Burmese government to halt preparations to construct three dams in Karenni State.

In early 2010, the central government and China’s Datang Corporation signed a memorandum of understanding to build the Ywathit Dam [to generate 600 megawatts of electricity] on the Salween River; the Punchaung Dam [130 megawatt] on Punchaung Creek; and Thabat Dam [110 megawatt] on Thabat Creek in Karenni State.

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