Myanmar: 85 villages inundated by Dam breach

A major breach in the Swar Creek Dam, led to flash floods in Myanmar which blocked a vital highway and flooded as many as 85 villages. Thousands were forced out from their homes as per the local media. The harrowing incident has highlighted the growing safety issues about the dams in the region as it was last month when a major hydroelectric dam collapse in Laos had led to displacement of  many thousands in the area.

The authorities have begun the rescue effort after the dam collapse and inundating the towns of Swar and Yedashe. The water has begun to recede in many places and the ones whose villages are located on higher elevations are setting up to return to their homes. Traffic between the major cities of Yangon and Mandalay has been severely affected due to flooding which damaged a major bridge linking the two.

Repair work on the dam has started at places where water level has gone down significantly.  The officials stated that although the dam is intact but the flooding was caused by the sinking of the retaining wall of the spillway. A few days before the incident, an all-clear chit was handed to the dam by the authorities despite the concerns raised by the residents over potential danger of overspill. The officials have however stated that the dam is regularly inspected the collapse of the spillway cannot be determined even one hour before.

Residents of the affected villages have asked for suitable compensation from the government as they have lost most of their possessions and homes. Also, there is a widespread damage to the fields.

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