Myanmar Consolidated Media
Education feature story
60th Anniversary of Indonesia~Myanmar

Rainfall records set as towns hit by flooding

By Aye Sapay Phyu
July 25 - 31, 2011

TORRENTIAL rain during the past week caused flooding in some coastal areas, an official from the Myanmar Red Cross Society said, while several 24-hour rain records were also broken.

The MRCS official said 29.1 inches (739 millimetres) fell at Taungup in Rakhine State in the 24 hours to 9:30 am on July 21, breaking the previous 24-hour July record and causing flooding throughout most of the town.

“We received reports that most water receded by the evening [of July 21]. In some low-lying areas the water was about 5 feet (1.5 metres) high,” he said.

On the same day, 13.32 inches (333mm) was recorded at Kyauktaw, breaking the record of 10.12 inches (257 millimeters) set two days earlier.

A resident of Mrauk U in Rakhine State, who works for a local non-government organisation, said the water level of the Lemro River had begun rising at about 3pm on July 21, flooding some low-lying quarters of the town.

“My neighbours have left and I don’t dare spend the night in my home because the water is still rising,” said the resident of Taung Yat quarter. “We couldn’t sleep here last night either, the was only one foot below the floor of my house and in our compound it was up to my chest. People are hiring boats to move from quarter to quarter. ”

She said flooding had also affected Mrauk U’s Ale Zay, Sin Cha Seik, Bandoola and Kyat Zay quarters, while about 30 villages in nearby Kyauktaw township were reportedly under water.

An officer from the Fire Services Department in Hpa-an said on July 22 that Thanlwin River had exceeded its danger level by 75cm and 744 people from three quarters had been evacuated to three camps in schools and pagoda compounds.

A Department of Meteorology and Hydrology issued July 21 said the Chindwin and Nga Wun rivers had also exceeded their danger levels at Homalin in Sagaing Region and Nga Thaing Chaung in Ayeyarwady Region respectively. The statement also warned that the Bago and Sittoung rivers could reach their danger levels at Bago and Ma Dauk in Bago Region respectively in the next 48 hours.

The MRCS official said flooding had also affected some coast areas earlier in the week following heavy rain on July 18-19.

“We have been informed about some minor flooding in two quarters – Myawaddy and Aye Mya Tharyar – of Hinthada [in Ayeyarwady Region] on July 19 as a result of heavy rain, not rising rivers,” the official said, adding that Gwa and Minbya in Rakhine State had also been affected.

“The water was about two feet [above the ground] in some areas of Minbya because of the high water level of Than Myaung Creek.”

Several rain records were also broken in Rakhine State, said the DMH. In the 24 hours to 9:30am on July 19, Kyauktaw received 10.12 inches (257 millimetres) of rain, beating the old July mark of 8.46 inches (215mm), set in 1996. Mrauk U received precipitation of 9.37 inches (238mm), beating the old record of 8.9 inches (226mm), set in 2006.

Heavy rain continued on July 20, with Gwa receiving 13.07 inches (332mm) and Hinthada 9.02 inches (229mm). The same day, Nga Thaing Chaung received 8.86 inches (225mm), while in Rakhine State, Maungdaw received 8.11 inches (206mm), Sittwe 7.75 inches (197mm) and Ann 7.36 inches (187mm).

A Public Works engineer based at Sittwe said that transportation between Buthidaung and Maungdaw had been blocked for few hours on July 19 because of landslides and flooding but a team had managed to quickly reopen the road.

An official from the DMH said torrential rain in the past week was the result of strong monsoon conditions in the Bay of Bengal.

“It could last about a week but is not expected to be as strong as [in June],” he said on July 20.