Myanmar president sends out state of emergency

By Kate Hassett

A woman wades through a flooded road in a village at Kawlin township, Sagaing division, Myanmar  REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
A woman wades through a flooded road in a village at Kawlin township, Sagaing division, Myanmar REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
Myanmar President urges residents to evacuate as flood levels continue to rise

The president of Myanmar, Thein Sein has released a statement calling for the immediate evacuation of residents from the areas surrounding the Irrawaddy river – a low-lying section of Myanmar.

The residents are currently at risk of the breaching waters that threaten to rise to higher levels, following the heavy monsoon season that has devastated South and South-East Asia over the past couple of weeks. So far hundreds have been killed and millions displaced.

The state of emergency was called just hours ago, after more than 330,000 residents in 12 of Myanmar’s 14 regions, have been adversely affected by the natural disaster.

President Sein said that areas close to the Irrawaddy were at the highest risk of danger, as water levels continue to rise to uncontrollable levels – as well as the immediate risk of those residing in the Hinthada and Nyaung Don townships alongside the river.

“As we cannot prevent natural disasters, I urge fellow citizens to move to safer places … it’s the best way,” he said.

Unfortunately for some, the message has come too late, as residents in Hinthada are forced to bunker down and watch the waters rise around them, hoping aid is not too far away.

While the Burmese government is usually reluctant to appeal for international aid, or outside help of any kind, the army had little choice but to ask for assistance – finally receiving international help that is currently bolstering internal army efforts.

People in the Chin State, a remote part of Myanmar, are still left stranded as the rugged terrain and lack of access, is making it difficult for emergency responses to reach the trapped citizens.

As flood levels are thought to continue rising in some areas, water is draining in others, replacing the fear of flooding with a real fear of landslides, which have devastated South-East Asia before.

 

 

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