Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mandalay flood victims taking refuge wherever they can find it

Tuesday, 30 August 2011 22:30 Zwe Khant

New Delhi (Mizzima) – After heavy flooding in Mandalay for more than a week, hundreds of flood victims are now living in monasteries and temporary camps and compounds in the city.

Sainyaungso (meaning Green) members help flood
victims in Aungchanthar Quarter in Mandalay on
Monday, August 29, 2011. Photo: Saineyaungso
Presently, 357 people are living in the Pyinnyar Parami Monastery in Aungchantha Quarter; about 550 people are living in the compound of the Kuthodaw Pagoda; and about 250 people are in a temporary camp between 88th Street and 90th Street.

The Bawa Alinyaung group is providing help to flood victims in the Nyaunggwel Quarter who can not get to the camps. In the affected quarter, an estimated 7,000 out of 10,000 residents are flood victims, according Sayadaw U Ottama Thara, a monk who is a member of the Bawa Alinyaung group.

“In some locations, the water level has reached my chest. But, some people are going here and there [in the flood]. Some people were catching fish,” the monk said.

Government departments are distributing food packets to the victims, said residents. Local charity groups, private donors, a blood donor group and the Saneyaungso charity organization are also distributing food packets, biscuits and drinking water.

“Nearly every day, there are about 200 patients in a clinic. Children have suffered from diarrhea,” said Sayadaw U Ottama Thara.

With the cooperation of the Bawa Alinyaung group, a health service comprising 16 people including eight doctors is providing health services to the flood victims. Members of Red Cross in the Mandalay Region Health Department are also going to the camps to provide health services.

The flood was caused by incessant rain during the third week of August. In the Nyaunggwel Quarter, the Mandalay Municipality was pumping water from the quarter into the Irrawaddy River using 11 water pumps, residents said.

However, the government did not supplying fuel to operate the water pumps, and private donors had to step in to provide fuel, according to the residents.

“Some donated one or two gallons of fuel. We run the water pumps with the fuel. When the fuel runs out, we cannot pump the water,” a resident from the quarter told Mizzima.

In 2010, floods also hit Mandalay because of incessant heavy rain. Flooding affects Mandalay during the rainy season each year. The rainfall in Mandalay in August was one inch higher than the total rainfall in the month for the past 24 years. According to observations by the Upper Burma Metrology and Hydrology Department, the rainfall in Mandalay on August 23 was 7.99 inches.

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