Myanmar dam breach: thousands evacuate homes, officials say


More than 50,000 people evacuated their homes in central Myanmar on Wednesday after a dam breach flooded towns and villages and caused the closure of a major highway, two officials said. Fire authorities sent a team to the Swar irrigation dam after the breach at 5.30 am (11pm GMT) unleashed water into the nearby town of Swar and several other settlements.

No casualties have been reported, but thousands took shelter in temporary camps. Many people, including some not directly affected by flooding, had decided to leave their homes for fear the water level could rise further, said an official of the Natural Disaster Management Department. In all, 12,000 households or 54,000 people had bee

The Swar dam’s spillway structure, which regulates the release of water from the levee, broke as a result of heavy monsoon rains in the Bago region, authorities said, inundating about 100 villages and blocking the country’s main highway. As water gushed into the rural flatland region, footage showed people fleeing their homes on foot, clutching bags of belongings. The weight of the flood water also fractured part of a bridge on the Yangon to Mandalay highway, an important artery between Myanmar’s two biggest cities.

“We don’t have exact data about the number of victims, but the water has hit villages where more than 50,000 people live,” the director of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Phyu Lae Lae Tun, told Agence France-Presse. n displaced, said another official from the Department of Relief and Resettlement.(theguardian)…[+]