State of emergency declared over Myanmar flood crisis

YANGON — President U Thein Sein has declared a state of emergency in central and western areas that are among the country’s worst-affected by severe flooding, the Information Ministry said late on July 31.

The move came as the crisis threatened to worsen because of high water levels in the country’s five man rivers.

The emergency declaration for Magway and Sagaing regions and Chin and Rakhine states came as floodwaters also wreaked havoc in other parts of the country, including Bago and Ayeyarwady regions, reports said.

More than 30 people are dead or missing as a result of flooding since mid-July. Relief operations are underway in many areas of the country, including Shan and Kachin states, to assist tens thousands of people left homeless by flood waters.

Water levels in the Ayeyarwady, Chindwin, Thanlwin, Sittoung and Ngawun rivers were dangerously high, the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology said on July 31, state-run media reported.

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The flooding has inundated nearly 400,000 acres of farmland, of which 103,000 acres had been destroyed or damaged, the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation was quoted as saying by the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar.

Flooding from weeks of heavy rain has been exacerbated in Rakhine and Chin states by Cyclone Komen, which was weakening on July 31 as it moved over Bangladesh, reports said.

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