The death toll of those killed by massive flooding across Myanmar has risen to more than 100 with the majority of fatalities in worst-hit Rakhine state on the west coast, a government official said on Monday.
“The majority is in Rakhine state—56 in total,” said Win Shwe, a senior official from Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement. “The rest are 11 from the Mandalay region, four in Chin State, nine in Shan state, seven in Sagaing region, two in Magway, two in Bago, and one in Kachin state.”
The floods have affected nearly one million people of the country’s population of more than 51 million, destroyed more than 430,000 acres (174,000 hectares) of farmland and submerged 1.2 million acres (486,000 hectares) of rice fields, according to the official newspaper Global New Light of Myanmar. Myanmar’s rice harvest begins in June or July and runs until September or October.
Flooding and landslides caused by monsoon rains and the tail-end of Cyclone Komen have affected 12 of Myanmar’s 14 states and divisions, all except for Karenni state and Tenasserim division, according to The Irrawaddy online journal.
The government had declared Chin and Rakhine states, and Magway and Sagaing regions as disaster zones on July 31.
The Ministry of Education on Sunday appealed to private donors to assist with the reopening of nearly 2,500 schools still closed because of damage caused by flooding, The Irrawaddy reported. The government already has reopened about 570 schools that were closed.
Much-needed international relief aid has been trickling in from other Asian countries, the United States, Europe and Australia, following appeals last week by the government of President Thein Sein and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
The torrential rains and subsequent floods and landslides are the worst natural disaster since Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar in May 2008, killing roughly 140,000 people.
At the time, Myanmar’s military-led government came under fire for refusing to accept international aid.
Reported by Shwe Yi Myintzu for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Kyaw Min Htun. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.