Rainstorms kill 49 in India

Floods force thousands from homes in Myanmar

Agence France-Presse . New Delhi/ Hpa-an, Myanmar | Published: 01:50, Jul 29,2018 | Updated: 01:57, Jul 29,2018

 
 

Houses are submerged by floodwaters in areas of Hpa-an, capital of Karen state, in southeast Myanmar on Friday following heavy monsoon rains. — AFP photo

Heavy monsoon rains that sparked floods and caused buildings to collapse have killed at least 49 people in north India’s Uttar Pradesh state since Thursday officials said, as the national weather agency issued further storm warnings.
Some of the victims died after they were buried by collapsing buildings, while others were drowned, electrocuted or killed in traffic accidents caused by the rain, disaster management officials said.
With scores of houses damaged, authorities in Uttar Pradesh - home to some 220 million people - were on high alert and called for all buildings at risk to be vacated.
The torrential rains have also hit New Delhi and the western state of Rajasthan that is popular with tourists, where 11 centimetres of rain was reported in 24 hours in Bharatpur district Friday.
New Delhi’s Yamuna river crossed the danger mark of 204 metres by one metre on Saturday leading the authorities to issue an alert. The water level in the river is expected to rise further, Delhi government said.
Building collapses are common across India, especially during the monsoon season from late June to September.
The meteorological office has warned of heavy rainfall across much of northern India for the next five days.
Meanwhile, floodwaters have forced thousands from their homes in southeast Myanmar, local police said Friday, as authorities and volunteers scrambled to provide food and aid to the victims.
Heavy monsoon rains have pounded Karen state, Mon state and Bago region in recent days and show no sign of abating, raising fears that the worst might be yet to come.
Photos and videos showed residents of Karen’s state capital Hpa-an boating down streets that had turned into rivers while others were forced to escape on foot through waist-deep water.
Vast swathes of the surrounding land lay submerged while 11 temporary camps have been set up around the city.
‘There are more than 6,000 people displaced in Hpa-an and about 4,000 in Myawaddy,’ the head of Karen state police force Kyi Linn said, referring to a second town on the border with Thailand.
A social welfare ministry official previously said 16,000 people had been displaced across eight townships in Karen state.
The number affected in Mon state and Bago region has not yet been confirmed.
‘The children’s school has closed,’ said Khin San Win, who fled her home which was thigh-deep in water for a shelter in Hpa-an along with her sick husband and their three children.
‘We’re being given food but we aren’t able to pay for anything else as we can’t work.’
State-run media published pictures on Friday of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi visiting Karen state the day before, talking to victims, relief workers and volunteers.
The Global New Light Of Myanmar said her government had freed up 200 million kyat ($140,000) to help those displaced and that rebuilding destroyed bridges would be a priority.
‘We are now delivering food to flood victims who don’t want to leave their homes,’ said volunteer Ni Ni Aung in Kyonedoe town, adding they would have no choice but to leave if the rains worsened.
So far no casualties have been reported.
Like its neighbours, Myanmar faces severe flooding every year and climate scientists in 2015 even ranked it top of a global list of nations hardest hit by extreme weather.
That year more than 100 people died in floods that also displaced hundreds of thousands across the country.
Some 138,000 people were killed in 2008 when Cyclone Nargis lashed vast stretches of Myanmar’s coast. 

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