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Myanmar flood victims in need of drinking water, aid
Publication Date : 19-09-2013
Flood victims in central Myanmar continue to face difficulties obtaining drinking water and other humanitarian aid in the aftermath of the Ayeyarwady River’s overflowing.
The present water level of the Ayeyarwady has fallen below the danger level, reaching 1,251 cm in Mandalay. However, it remained 38 cm above its danger level in Sagaing on Tuesday, according to the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (Myanmar).
While the water level of the Dokehtawady River has dropped slightly, it remains 53 cm above its danger level in Myitnge, the department reported on Tuesday.
“At present, we have been donating water bottles and other rations such as instant noodles and rice. When we see incidents of diarrhoea, we only give mineral salt. If the flood continues, there could be an outbreak of cholera, so we are making arrangements to provide healthcare,” said Win Swe of Byamaso social organisation.
An official from the Shwekyatyat Red Cross Camp in Amarapura said that mobile toilets and clean drinking water are essential to preventing an outbreak of cholera, with the flood expected to continue for days.
Although the water level of the Ayeyarwady River at Pakokku has dropped about 7 cm, households from about 30 villages on the riverbank, and some wards in the town, continue to stay at temporary shelters.
“The water level has dropped one foot, but most of the people are still living on higher ground. We can only go back to our homes after the next 15 days due to the rain and the flood in the village. Even though the water level has dropped, it has only dropped a little. We still need help,” said Tun Kyi from Kyunoo village.
Aung Naing Oo, administrator of Pakkoku township, said that residents of Yaylaekyun villages are still living inside their houses.
“We’ll ask them to evacuate if the water level rises,” he said. “We have formed a team headed by the medical superintendent of the Pakkoku Hospital to give immediate medical aid.”
Hundreds of households from Nyaung Oo and nearby villages have migrated to higher ground since the Ayeyarwady overflowed, but the river level dropped slightly on Tuesday.
“We started evacuating on September 14, except for one man to guard the house. This is the third time we have had to evacuate during my lifetime. It has been two or three years since the last time,” said Tin Nyunt, a 57-year-old woman from East Sallan Island, who is currently staying at a monastery.
While refugee camps have received aid from respective departments, political parties, social organisations and well-wishers, residents living in the flood-affected areas need healthcare and other aid for themselves and their livestock.
“We have to take care of the health of our children, as we will have to live in the mud after the water has dropped. It’s too late to do farming.
We won’t be able to work for a while, even though the water has receded,” said a farmer from East Sallan Island, who is currently staying at a monastery.
Twelve households in Aung Lan have also had to evacuate due to the flood on Monday and are currently staying on the stairways of Ethinaryone Pagoda.
An official from the Water Resources Department said the water level of the Ayeyarwady River in Aung Lan has reached 2,460 cm, which is 90 cm below its danger level. It is the third time the town has been hit by floods.
“We have been evacuating since Monday evening, as we could no longer stay in our homes. After the rain fell, our house was inundated. About 12 households had to evacuate. The township donated rice yesterday (Monday). We only have this to eat. They are still making arrangements to help us,” said a flood victim from Aung Lan.
The river level continues to rise at Minbu and over 300 residents from more than 10 villages in Minbu district are staying at four refugee camps in Minbu after their houses were inundated, according to local residents.
Although food rations and other aid have been provided to five flood-affected villages in Minbu township, seven other villages in Pwintphyu township in Minbu district still need aid.
A few villages in Yenanchaung and Magway townships in Magway Region have also been inundated.