At a monastery in the city of Bago, northeast of Yangon, parents and children found refuge, sleeping on mattresses surrounded by bags containing their meager possessions while their wet clothing dried on makeshift clotheslines. Tin Win, 52, shared that despite the precarious conditions of the shelter and receiving only two meals a day, she was grateful to be safe and sheltered from the water.
The space limitations were evident, as she pointed out when informing AFP: “The space is small, and we have to settle in next to each other to sleep.” Hoping that the weather would improve, she expressed her desire to return to her home within three days.
The floods, triggered by persistent rains since the end of July, have severely affected nine states and regions in different parts of the country. The situation became an odyssey for those like Ohm Kyi, 64, who recounted how they rented a boat to salvage some of their possessions, facing difficulties when the boat couldn’t get close enough to their home. The man shared, “We had to walk in the water and carry everything we could. We could only carry clothes, pots, and dishes.”
In the face of this crisis, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief, and Resettlement provided essential food items such as instant noodles and drinking water to displaced people staying in monasteries, schools, and other high places.
While heavy rains in Burma during this time are an annual reality, recent manifestations of extreme weather conditions around the world have been attributed by scientists to climate change, further aggravating the situation and highlighting the need for effective and sustainable responses to these climate challenges.