News / Asia

    Cleanup Underway from Flooding in Thailand, Burma

    Ron Corben
    Tens of thousands of people are still waiting to return home from camps in eastern Burma after days of heavy rains triggered massive flooding that forced many to seek temporary shelter. Aid groups are calling for urgent aid for populations hardest hit in remote regions amid concerns over disease outbreaks including malaria.

    Thousands of people along Burma's eastern border states have been forced to remain in makeshift shelters after days of heavy rains triggered widespread flooding, which observers say was the most severe in two decades.

    The flooding has badly affected Burma's Southern Kayin, also known as Karen, and Mon states, leading to the evacuation of over 33,000 people into 79 relief camps set up by local authorities.

    The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) says officials from Karen state are seeking assistance with access to isolated regions, made difficult due to roads being cut or damaged and the collapse of bridges.  UNOCHA says key items in need are food, sanitation and medical supplies. UNOCHA officials say many of those affected have lost homes and crops.

    Major flooding also occurred in neighboring Thailand.  The Salween River broke its banks near the Thai town of Mae Sot, a key access route into Burma for goods and transport. Officials overseeing a dam near the town had also been forced to release water, adding to the flood damage.

    Mae Sot has also played a key role in providing assistance to Burmese refugees and those displaced by Burma's internal conflicts over recent decades.

    A key clinic providing medical aid to the refugees was itself temporarily flooded. But Yasmin Ahammad, a spokesperson at the Mae Tao clinic, said while waters in Mae Sot had receded, floodwaters remain high in the border regions of Burma's Karen State.

    Ahammad said some 10,000 people are still living in 24 temporary camps in Karen. But the clinic's mobile health services have so far only reached four of the camps, located in Buddhist monasteries and schools.  

    Ahammad says many staying in the camps face a desperate situation once they return to their homes, some now washed away. She says it may be sometime before they will be able to return home.  

    "At least 20 of the families have completely lost their homes and all their belongings. They have nothing to go back to and the rest, they're still in the camps because if they go home they've got severe damage to their homes where they don't have any clean water, they don't have anything to cook with, they have lost all their clothes. So that's why they are staying in the camps," said Ahmmad.

    Thai officials in Mae Sot say the flooding was the most severe in 20 years with damages put at close to $65 million. Nearby garment factories were forced to close, leading to around 4,000 factory workers being evacuated.

    Overland and river transport remain badly affected. Roads between the commercial capital of Rangoon to the Mon state capital, Moulmein, and the Dawei Port in Tennaserim Division have also been cut due to flooding.

    Burma's Meteorology Department says while the rains have abated, they are forecast to resume in the coming days, especially in southern Burma where they warn water levels are again expected to rise.

    The flooding is reported to have killed at least 10 people.  In 2008, Burma's southern Irrawaddy Delta region was struck by a cyclone, leading to massive destruction and claiming the lives of over 130,000 people.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Steven Hulme from: Connecticut
    August 04, 2013 2:30 PM
    Last time I looked at the map the town of Mae Sot was not on the Salween River, but rather the Moie River. However the flooding is terrible and causes much damage, destruction and relocation.

    It will be interesting to see what the new "democratic" government of Burma will do to aid the victims.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora