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

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Video Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs