Myanmar troops help flood rescue after landslide kills 51

Soldiers and rescue workers assisting residents following a landslide in Mottama in Myanmar's Mon state, on Aug 10, 2019.
Soldiers and rescue workers assisting residents following a landslide in Mottama in Myanmar's Mon state, on Aug 10, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

MAWLAMYINE, MYANMAR (AFP) - Myanmar troops deployed to flood-hit parts of the country on Sunday (Aug 11) to help with relief efforts after the death toll from a deadly landslide jumped to 51.

Every year monsoon rains hammer Myanmar and other countries across South-east Asia, submerging homes, displacing thousands and triggering landslides.

But the disaster on Friday (Aug 9) in south-eastern Mon state was the worst in recent memory and hundreds of emergency response workers were still pulling bodies out of the muddy wreckage early on Sunday.

“Three more dead bodies were found at 11.50 am (1.20pm Singapore time). The total death toll has reached 51 people,” the Myanmar fire services department said on its Facebook page.

Heavy rains pounded Mon, Karen and Kachin states, flooding roads, destroying bridges and forcing people to flee by boat..

As the rainy season reaches its peak, the country's armed forces are pitching in.

"Our regional military commands are working to help with the search and rescue process in disaster areas," Brigadier-General Zaw Min Tun told AFP.

"Helicopters will be used to supply food." The bulk of the effort is focused on hard-hit Mon state, which sits on the coast of the Andaman sea.

 
 

Pictures from the area show residents swimming away or bundling their possessions onto small boats and rowing to higher ground.

Floodwaters have submerged more than 4,000 houses in the state and displaced more than 25,000 residents who have sought shelter in monasteries and pagodas, according to state-owned Global New Light of Myanmar.

Vice President Henry Van Thio visited landslide survivors in a Paung township village on Saturday and "spoke of his sorrow" while promising relief assistance, the paper reported.

Around 89,000 people have been displaced by floods in recent weeks, although many have since been able to return home, according to the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.