Myanmar floods kill at least 10, force 54,000 people from homes

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BAGO, Myanmar, July 29, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Surging floodwaters have killed
at least 10 people and forced tens of thousands from their homes across
swathes of Myanmar, a government official said Sunday as more heavy monsoon
rain battered the region.

Vast areas of farmland have been submerged by muddy water stretching to the
horizon, with only the rooftops of some houses visible.

Some stranded people were plucked from the churning waters by rescuers in
boats, while volunteers used rafts made from barrels and pieces of wood.

Other flood victims waded through waist-deep water to escape, carrying
children on their shoulders while trying to keep precious belongings out of
the water.

“There have been 10 people killed by the floods,” a Ministry of Social
Welfare official told AFP on condition of anonymity, adding that the figure
included three soldiers whose deaths were confirmed on Sunday.

“There are more than 54,000 displaced people affected by the flooding
around the country.”

Evacuation orders had been issued in several areas, while some 163 camps
have been set up for displaced people in southern, eastern and central parts
of the country.

“There are normally floods, but not like this year. This year is the worst
ever,” said Myint Myint Than, one of the hundreds taking refuge in a shelter
in Bago.

Others are holding firm, refusing to leave their flooded homes in spite of
the warnings from authorities.

“I’m not going to the shelter yet because some shelters don’t have any
places left. But if the flooding gets any worse than this, I will have to
escape,” Khin Mar Yee told AFP through the upper window of her submerged
house.

The floods in Myanmar come as a particularly heavy monsoon pummels the
region, bringing downpours that contributed to the collapse of a dam last
week in Laos, which left scores dead or missing.

Myanmar is hit by severe flooding every year and climate scientists in 2015
ranked it 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 across the country.

Myanmar’s worst natural disaster of recent times was Cyclone Nargis, which
lashed huge stretches of the country’s coast and left at least 138,000 dead
or missing in May 2008.