Floods after heavy monsoon rains displaced more than 16,000 people in Myanmar, local media reported yesterday. A total of 16,792 people were displaced by floods, which began over the weekend in southeastern Kayin State, as of Wednesday, the Myanmar Times reported, quoting the Department of Disaster Management. Some 10,368 people were forced to flee their homes in the state capital Hpa-an because of flood water from the Thanlwin River, it added. Many evacuation centers were set up across the state to provide temporary shelters for the victims.
Monsoon rains affected a large part of the Philippines, Japan and Southeast Asia this summer.
In Bangladesh, the Rohingya Muslims face the risk of losing shelters due to monsoon rains and many infectious diseases due to polluted water sources. Aid agencies have been warning that the monsoon could unleash "an emergency within an emergency" for the close to one million Rohingya living in temporary shelters in southeast Bangladesh. Many of the hillsides were cleared of trees to make way for shelters, making the land highly unstable. The region is prone to cyclones, landslides and devastating downpours during the rainy season, which arrives in June and typically lasts three months.
An estimated 700,000 Rohingya have fled over the border to Bangladesh since an army crackdown was launched in Rakhine state in August. Myanmar blames Rohingya militants for an Aug. 25 strike on security posts in Rakhine state that triggered a fierce army crackdown. At least 9,000 Rohingya were killed in Rakhine state from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24, according to Doctors without Borders. In a report last December, the global humanitarian group said the deaths of 71.7 percent, or 6,700 Rohingya, were caused by violence. The stateless Rohingya have been the target of communal violence and vicious anti-Muslim sentiment in mainly Buddhist Myanmar for years. Last year, monsoon rains triggered landslides in Cox's Bazar and the nearby Chittagong Hill Tracts, killing at least 170 people. More than 100 died in landslides in the region in 2012, and two years earlier around 50 perished. An estimated 200,000 refugees are at direct risk of landslides and floods and need relocating, aid agencies working in the camps said.