December 12, 2017
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Landslides, floods hit southern Karen State

The Hlinebwe River near Pa-an pictured last year. Photo: Karen News

More than 1,000 people have been evacuated to relief camps due to flooding in southern Karen State.

In addition, KNU/ KNLA Peace Council commander Col. Tiger told Mizzima that landslides along the Kawkareik-Myawaddy highway have caused transportation chaos. He said the highway is built under the Dawna mountain range and that landslides have increased under heavy rains on Monday.

“Some passengers are trapped on this highway with landslides in both directions, front and rear,” he said. “No one has come to help them or offer relief.”

Capt. Nyi Nyi from KNU/KNLA said that the landslides on the Dawna range were unprecedented.

“We have had similar floods before but we have never experienced conditions as bad as this,” he said. “We need manpower and rescue organizations, but no one has come.”

A senior official from a local fire department in the region told Mizzima that the floods has inundated the towns of Hlinebwe, Myawaddy and Kawkareik in southern Karen State and that they had began relief work on July 25.

“Many people have been moved to safe places while the floodwater from rivers and creeks is rising,” he said. “The situation has not yet reached a state of emergency but most families are now taking refuge
at the relief camps.”

He said the fire department had also deployed search and rescue teams in areas affected by floods and landslides.

According to fire department data on July 28, some 72 people from 12 households in Kawkareik have been moved to relief camps; while 603 people from 49 households in Hlinebwe have been resettled in seven local shelters. In Myawaddy Township, 578 people from 115 households have been evacuated to camps. He noted that floods on July 29 would cause numbers to rise.

Pa-an resident Pai Pai spoke to Mizzima by phone and said, “The floodwater is rising in Pa-an town. It has reached the backyard of the local hospital and caused some walls by the riverbank to collapse. There have been landslides too, but we can still go from one place to another.”

The floodwater in Myawaddy has reached over 10 feet in some places. Local resident Ko Ye told Mizzima that the Jai Bridge which connects Myawaddy and Kawkareik was submerged on Monday.

Floods and landslides have also been reported in Irrawaddy Region and Rakhine State.

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