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14,000 displaced in Myanmar after record rain sparks floods

Residents of Myanmar’s flood-hit Bago city salvage belongings from their waterlogged homes after record rainfall displaces 14,000. Man-made climate change intensifies Southeast Asia’s rainy season.

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BAGO, MYANMAR — Residents of Myanmar’s flood-hit Bago city salvaged food and belongings from their waterlogged homes on Tuesday after record rainfall triggered floods that authorities said have displaced 14,000 people.

The rainy season typically brings months of heavy downpours to the Southeast Asian country, but scientists say man-made climate change is making weather patterns more intense.

In eastern Bago city residents waded down streets through waist-deep water or floated along in boats or on rubber tyres, as ripples lapped at shuttered shops and houses.

“This is the first time my house has been flooded in my life,” Phwar Than Hme, 101, told AFP from the monastery where she was taking shelter.

“I was standing on a chair while my house was being flooded.

“My neighbour and rescue people told me not to stay at home and to go to the camp. They carried me on their backs and brought me here.”

On Sunday authorities reported that 200 mm (almost eight inches) of rain had fallen in the previous 24 hours in Bago region northeast of commercial hub Yangon — a record for October.

Heavy rain continued through Monday night.

“I didn’t expect this level of water here,” said Chit Nyunt, 69, told AFP as he waded down the street holding a pair of sandals and an umbrella.

“I have never seen anything like this.”

State broadcaster MRTV said 14,000 people had been displaced across Bago region, northeast of commercial hub Yangon.

Almost 5,600 people were being accommodated in local government temporary relief centres, according to the state-backed Global New Light of Myanmar.

The lower floors of Bago’s general hospital had been flooded, a resident told the newspaper, and three of Myanmar’s four telecoms providers were not working in the area.

Flooding began in July and has affected nine of Myanmar’s states and regions, including Rakhine, Kachin, Karen, Mon and Chin.

Myanmar is in the grip of a bloody civil conflict between the junta, which ousted the government of Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021, and armed groups opposed to its coup.

— AFP

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