News / Asia

Cleanup Underway from Flooding in Thailand, Burma

TEXT SIZE - +
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 Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest 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.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid