Death toll of monsoon landslide in southern Myanmar rises to 59

Cheryl Sanders
August 13, 2019

The mountainside of Ma-lat mountain collapsed due to the monsoon downpour at 7 a.m. on Friday.

A landslide buried more than a dozen village houses in southeastern Myanmar.

Torrential rainfall burst riverbanks across the country and submerged entire communities.

There are now more than 80,000 people sheltering at evacuation sites across the country, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

U Zaw Zaw Htoo, a Mon State lawmaker representing Paung Township, said at least four of the seven landslides were the direct result of the destruction of hills there by miners and the landowners that sold the land to them.

In the town of Ye in Monday state, people struggled to stay afloat and others fled to rooftops or to higher ground with the help of rescue boats.

Precautionary measures will also be done as there is a sign of more landslides at the area, the official added.

Search and rescue teams worked through the night with excavators and their bare hands trying to find survivors and recover bodies from the deep sludge, continuing through Saturday.

The top official in Monday state, Aye Zan, had visited the site and villagers who were evacuated to a relief camp to escape floods following torrential rains.

"Access to affected regions is still good". People, houses and vehicles were caught in the mud discharge.

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

The search for victims continued later Sunday though the rain has made the process more hard. "We thought we were dead", she said.

In recent weeks, heavy rain has caused flood in upper parts of the country forcing around 89,000 people to take refuge in temporary camps and religious buildings.

Second Vice President Henry Van Thio visits the site of a landslide in Mottama, Paung Township, Mon State, in southern Myanmar, on August 11, 2019.

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