The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

Monday, 03 September 2018 01:00

Myanmar dam failure: 85 villages flooded

Myanmar dam failure Myanmar dam failure .

A dam failure in Myanmar blocked a major highway and caused massive floods in 85 villages.

The Swar Chaung irrigation dam failure was provoked when the spillway, which regulates the release of water, burst due to heavy seasonal rain on Wednesday 29 of August, 2018. At least 63.000 people evacuated their residences but many others remained trapped in their half-submerged homes as rescuers tried tirelessly to save them. Fortunately, no casualties were reported. According to Ministry of Social Welfare director, Phyu Lae Lae Tun, 12.600 people have found shelter in 30 temporary camps.

Officials tried relentlessly to repair the damage on Thursday as the water level had dropped revealing the sandy banks. It was significant to save as much water as they could for irrigation during the dry season. Kaung Myat Thein, an irrigation official at the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, stated: "The retaining wall of the spillway sank into the foundation about 4-5 feet, causing the flooding, but the main dam is intact."

A bridge on the Yangon-Mandalay highway which connects Myanmar's two biggest cities was also affected by the floods. The torrent fractured significant structural components of the construction. Deputy Minister for Construction, Kyaw Linn, stated that the towers supporting the bridge were sinking. "We will get divers to go down and check after the water levels recede," he said.

The floods also caused critical damage to the agriculture fields. Inspections in Oo Yin Hmu, a village of about 1.000 people located a few miles downstream from the dam, report that the fields are inundated. "It would be years before they could be planted with rice again," said a 45-year-old farmer. Civilians that evacuated their residences will now ask for compensation from the government in order to repair the damage in their properties.

The incident followed last month's collapse of a hydroelectric dam in Laos rising concerns about safety regulations in Southeast Asia.


Read 452 times Last modified on Monday, 03 September 2018 14:39

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