08/03/2015, 00.00
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46 dead and 200 thousand displaced in Myanmar floods

The government declares a state of emergency in four regions, some unreachable by rescue teams. Because of the lack of communications and infrastructure, the scale of the disaster could be worse. Pakistan, Vietnam and Nepal also affected.

Yangon (AsiaNews) - "46 people are dead and more than 200 thousand displaced people by floods caused by heavy rains that have hit Myanmar in these days." This was stated by a member of the South-East Asian State’s Relief and Resettlement Department. The lack of communications and infrastructure could hide the true extent of the emergency caused by the monsoons.

The authorities have declared a state of emergency for the four central regions of the country, which are the most affected. "There were warnings ... we thought it was a normal [flood season]," a source tells Agence France-Presse.

In the capital of Chin, Haka, landslides have destroyed 700 homes; 5 thousand people have had to find temporary shelter. President Thein Sein said that the government will do "everything possible" to bring relief, even if part of the Chin "is isolated from the surrounding regions."

In the state of Rakhine, home to the Rohingya Muslim minority, there are at least 140 thousand displaced people living in makeshift shelters along the coast, and those who are allowed, in Buddhist temples.

The rains began last July 16 with an unusual fury. Farmland, roads, railways, bridges and houses were destroyed in the storms, which are also causing landslides.

There has been flooding in other Asian countries. In Pakistan, the rains have caused 109 deaths and 700 thousand people have been affected by the floods; 36 people died in Nepal from landslides. In Vietnam, there have been 17 victims, including two families engulfed by a torrent of toxic sludge.

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