Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Burma to control flooding with foreign assistance

Wednesday, 29 August 2012 14:45 Nay Lin Aung

Rangoon (Mizzima) – Burma will develop a flood control plan for flood-prone areas with the aid of foreign countries, Ye Min Aung, the secretary of Myanmar Rice Industry Association, said on Tuesday.

“Flood and inundation need to be controlled,” he said, adding that officials are in discussions with two companies from Thailand.

A few structures on high ground escaped flooding in Thapaung Township, Irrawaddy Region, on August 17, 2012. Photo: Myo Thant / Mizzima

If the discussions are fruitful, the flood control scheme will be implemented in Kawa, Thanatpin, Waw and Dike Oo townships in Pegu [Bago] Region, he said.

Flooding in the area has devasted rice crops during the past month.

Dr. Tin Hla, the chairman of the Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association, said there should be long-term plans to limit flooding in Burma.

“To conduct flood control, [officials] need to carefully analyze why floods occur,” said Dr. Tin Hla. He said it’s important that all countries take actions to prevent adverse effects of environmental and climate changes.

Tens of thousands acres of paddy fields in Irrawaddy and Pegu regions were spoiled by flooding starting in the first week in August.

Burma’s President Thien Sein toured the flood-hit Irrawaddy region on Saturday, and he urged farmers to try to start other businesses also and not rely solely on farming.

Heavy rains over the last few weeks caused the flooding, which primarily affected the country's southern delta region, said Soe Tun, a member of the government's emergency response team.

Around 70,000 people have been displaced in the delta and are being housed at 219 emergency relief centers set up at schools and monasteries, he said.

Another 15,000 people have been displaced elsewhere in the country, and more than 600,000 acres (240,000 hectares) of rice fields have been swamped, he said.

Annual monsoon rains often cause flooding in the region, but this year's rains are the heaviest since 2004, Soe Tun said.

So far, a total of 487 schools including primary, middle and high schools were closed and will be reopened only after the water level drops.

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