As a result of global warming, unusually heavy downpours hit Myanmar alarming that the country will see flooding every year. Still, climate change is expected to increase the incidence of extreme weather, including flooding. So there is no time like the present to prepare for what awaits.
All the State can do is take steps to minimise urban and rural damage by implementing short-term and long term plans.
Torrential rains and high-tide caused flooding in Bago Region, Mon State, Magway Region and Sagaing Region recently leaving traffic chaos.
The National Level Water Management Committee reviewed the recent flood situations at its meeting on 20 August in Nay Pyi Taw and suggested that some rivers and creeks in Kawlin, Bago, Bilin and Hpa-an should be dredged and conserved.
For example, Daungmyu Creek on the Yangon-Mandalay Railroad in Kawlin township; the Bago River which mainly causes traffic chaos on the Yangon-Mandalay Railroad and motor road in Bago; and the Bilin River which causes serious flooding on the Yangon-Mawlamyine Railroad and motor road submerging rice fields.
The three areas would be given priorities for overcoming traffic chaos and for reducing floods in the future, according to the National Level Water Management Committee.
The incumbent Government carried out maintenance of rivers at 498 places to prevent erosion and proper flowing of the rivers nationwide last year.
To reduce the risk of flooding in the prioritized areas, the Union Government decided to draw short-term and long-term plans for three years and the ministries concerned will work together with region and state governments to form committees and to fight the disaster with collective efforts.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation identified 17 short-term plans and seven long-term plans to reduce the risk of flooding in the future.
The National Level Water Management Committee’s short-term and long term plans stand to increase the regional governments’ and people’s ability to cope with future flooding, both in terms of prevention of damage and responding to disasters that do occur.
To make the flood risk areas stronger and more resilient, we have to rethink, re-imagine and rebuild with the future in mind. We have to be better prepared for torrential rains and overflowing of river waters in the years to come.
In the spirit of cooperation between the authorities and the people, we believe that the recent flood-hit areas will come back stronger, safer and more resilient than ever.