The current season has beset natural disasters on many other countries around the world, including Myanmar. Heavy rains have caused floods and landslides and stormy winds. People across some of our states and regions are forced to relocate away from these disasters while a number of innocent lives have been lost.
Global natural disasters these days are no longer caused by unusual weather patterns but are becoming regular occurrences due to climate change. As such, we the people and those in authority need to envision possible natural disasters that may occur in our region and make preemptive plans for prevention, rescue, relief and rebuilding efforts.
If we review the frequent flooding and heavy rains happening around the world, we can see that providing early warnings and maintaining vigilance is the key difference between high and low casualties and deaths from the natural disasters. Myanmar’s natural disasters are smaller in scale compared to those of our neighbors, yet they are urgent all the same.
However, while other countries face natural disasters on a much larger magnitude, their casualty rate is quite low due to having effective warning systems and action plans in place. We can say that each of the natural disasters in Myanmar with high number of casualties were the consequences of inattentiveness and poor prior planning.
Just a few days ago, the village of Thalphyugone in Paung Township, Mon State, was hit with heavy rains and landslides that have caused the highest number of casualties this season. Vice President U Henry Van Thio visited the village almost immediately after the disaster struck and oversaw rescue operations in action.
Also serving as the Chairman of the Natural Disaster Management Committee, U Henry Van Thio instructed authorities concerned and the local residents to set preventive measures in place in order to protect themselves against unpredictable natural disasters. He also told them to spread awareness on natural disasters and regularly practice rescue and relief procedures, citing that vigilance never sleeps.
It is saddening to witness the landslide in Thalphyugone that destroyed entire communities. It was one of five areas afflicted with landslides in Paung Township and the death toll reached 50 as of last Friday while search and rescue operations continue for the missing.
Numerous villages in Myanmar settle themselves at the base of hills and mountains and they must be cautious of heavy rains that bring torrential floods down the mountain and soften the earth to the point of causing landslides. Likewise, government and civilian organizations must provide the proper training and warning procedures to better prepare the local residents. If necessary, they must help them relocate at the earliest convenience.
We urge everyone and their families who live at the base, on the slope or on the edge of hills and mountains to remain ever vigilant and properly prepared for natural disasters that can strike without warning.