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Over 13,000 flood victims relocated in Myanmar’s Bago region

Flooding in Myanmar has caused chaos across five regions, according to junta authorities, with 13,000 people in Bago region alone being relocated due to heavy rain.

The Bago River overflowed, flooding 12 neighborhoods and seven villages across the region’s capital, according to Lay Swe Zin Oo, the director of the Department of  Disaster Management and the military-run Ministry of Relief and Resettlement.

“More than 13,000 people from over 3,000 households are moving to camps. There are about 34 camps in total,” she told RFA.

Residents were warned to evacuate early Sunday morning when the Bago River quickly rose more than one foot (30 cm) above critical level, according to the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology. By Monday morning, the river had risen three more feet. 

Water remains over a yard (91 cm) deep in low-level areas of Bago city, and roughly 18 inches (46 cm) of water still cover roads and railways, according to the the Metta San Yae Social Assistance Association, an organization relocating flood victims. 

“It was at person-level height in the street that flooded the neighborhood. The base of the stilt houses was already flooded,” an official of the group told RFA, adding that several main streets were impassable. “Now, it’s still raining. It has been raining for about four days.”

Trucks and buses stuck at 39-Mile near Bago city due to flooding on Oct. 9, 2023. Credit: RFA

According to a press release from the junta’s Ministry of Information on Sunday, vans, buses, and cargo trucks to and from the city have been paused until the water recedes. Two train lines to Yangon from Mandalay region and Mon state were flooded, leaving more than 800 passengers stranded at the entrance of Bago city.

Aid was being delivered to the passengers, who were being transferred to Yangon by car, the press release said, adding that four other train lines through Bago have been canceled this week.

Bago region in central Myanmar has faced a challenging rainy season. In August, more than 18,000 residents were forced to move when more than a week of heavy rain flooded 13 neighborhoods. 

Other areas around the country have also been impacted by flooding, including Yangon and Mandalay regions, Mon and Shan states. 

Residents said Sunday that more than a hundred vehicles were stuck in places between Pyinoolwin township in Mandalay region and Nawnghkio township in Shan state.

Despite the rainy season wrapping up, monsoons like this can occur at the very end of the season, said Hla Tun, director of the junta’s Department of Weather and Hydrology.

“Monsoon season is not over in Bago, Yangon and the delta region of Ayeyarwady. It usually rains when the season is on its way out,” he said. “The nature of the monsoon is that it is a bit rough when it comes and leaves.”

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn.