Monday, August 27, 2012

Burmese flooding affects 85,000 people

Monday, 27 August 2012 13:47 Mizzima News

The Burmese government has said that 85,000 people have been driven from their homes by heavy flooding.

The Irrawaddy Delta - where 130,000 people died in a cyclone in 2008 - has been the hardest-hit area.

Flooding around Pyinmagu village, Kangyidauk Township, in Irrawaddy region on Sunday, August 26, 2012. Photo: Min Min / Mizzima

Unusually heavy monsoon rains have inundated around 250,000 hectares of rice fields, the government said.

The government said it has set up more than 200 emergency relief centers to help those who have had to leave their homes.

Next year's rice harvest is expected to be significantly affected. Rice is a key export for Burma and the staple diet for most of the population.

The BBC South-East Asia correspondent said the floods could be a test how the new government responds to natural disasters.

When Cyclone Nargis devastated communities across the Irrawaddy Delta four years ago, the then-military government arrested scores of people who reported the scale of the disaster and tried to provide relief to victims. The government also impeded international aid efforts.

Burma now has a new civilian-based government and an elected Parliament, which has undertaken significant reform efforts.

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