Non-stop rains in the past week have flooded the northern regions of Myanmar affecting 110,000 people. Many criticized the government for its slow response and delay in placing the country under state of emergency.
The regions heavily affected by the rains and floods are Sagain, Magway, Chin, Rakhine, and Shan. As of July 29, the floods have killed 20 people already. Many roads and bridges were damaged in Chin. There are fears continuous rains could break some irrigation dams.
Furthermore, as cyclone Komen batters neighboring Bangladesh, the western part of Myanmar and the delta region have been hit with flash floods.
The relief efforts of various civil society groups and volunteers are contrasted to the slow, or in some places total lack of government’s response to the flood crisis.
According to renowned meteorologist U Tun Lwin, the government should have declared a national emergency during the first three days of the floods. He made this statement on July 29. The government eventually issued an official declaration of emergency on the afternoon of July 31.
Environmentalists are blaming rapid deforestation for the current flooding crisis. They warned that the country’s forest cover has been reduced to only 20 percent of the country’s total land area. They said that environmental preservation and rehabilitation should be prioritized by the government.
Read more: globalvoicesonline.org – Written by Thant Sin