Landslide kills at least 55 in Myanmar

Unfathomable loss: Farmer Chan Aye, 42, who lost 14 family members along with his house, sits near the area after it was hit by a landslide in Paung township, Mon State. As of Sunday, the bodies of 55 victims had been found, while an unknown number of people from Thayphu Kone village remain missing. Photo - EPA. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

PAUNG, Aug 12, 2019, Myanmar Times. The Myanmar Fire Services Department said on Sunday the bodies of 55 victims who died as a result of a landslide in Paung township, Mon State, on Friday had been recovered. The landslide, which devastated the village of Thayphu Kone, is believed to have been triggered by heavy monsoon rain over the past few days, reported the Myanmar Times.

Some 30 houses in the village were buried by the landslide.

In Thayphu Kone on Sunday, rescuers worked desperately to find survivors as more rain was forecast in the area.

The New York Times quoted Ma Htay Htay, a resident of the village, as saying she had just left for work on Friday when she heard a roaring noise behind her. Turning around, she saw her house disappear under mud.

Eight members of her family are missing, she said on Sunday, adding, “I’m praying hard that I will see them alive, but I don’t really have hope.”

“We have found the bodies of just over 50 victims so far and more are being pulled out as we speak. The village is believed to have some 140 inhabitants and many are still missing. Cars passing the area were also hit by the landslide, and many of the victims were occupants of the vehicles,” said U Thaung Shwe, director of the Mon State Disaster Management Department.

Elsewhere, other parts of Mon State remain flooded, with Ye township hit particularly hard. Residents of the town, however, said the water appeared to be receding on Sunday.

Nearly 20,000 people were estimated on Sunday to have been displaced by floodwaters in the state, and the state government and rescue workers say they are collecting and distributing emergency supplies to victims.

The Department of Meteorology and Hydrology has forecast a weather system bringing more heavy rain in the next 48 hours and issued a warning to the public to watch out for gales, landslides and flooding.

Vice President U Henry Van Thio, chair of the National Natural Disaster Management Committee; U Win Myat Aye, minister of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement; and senior government officials were in Mon over the weekend to view flood-hit areas and visit victims in relief camps, the Ministry of Information said on Sunday.

“Efforts will be made to prevent a recurrence of such disasters through the use of warning systems and response exercises. As this cannot be done single-handedly, people need to cooperate with officials,” said U Henry Van Thio.

“Through prevention and preparation efforts, the effects of natural disasters can be mitigated, reducing the loss of lives and damage to property. Necessary support for relief and recovery will be provided, as will support for reconstruction work,” the vice president said.

Share it

Exclusive: Beyond the Covid-19 world's coverage