Floods and landslides caused by monsoon rains have killed five people and forced the evacuation of around 40,000 others in Myanmar, officials said on Friday.
Footage from Rakhine state, which was ravaged in May by cyclone Mocha, showed large areas of villages and farmland submerged by murky, yellow-brown waters.
Myanmar is hit by heavy rains every year around this time, but extreme weather events have struck around the globe in recent weeks, events scientists say are made worse by climate change.
In Bago, northeast of Yangon, some residents evacuated early while others were caught off guard by the rapidly rising water.
“There are floods every year in Bago but this one is the worst. Normally, the water is around knee- or thigh-deep during the rainy season,” Bago resident Soe Min Aung, 23, said, adding that his family had scrambled to buy a boat. “Some families moved to a monastery but others stayed because they didn’t think the water would be too high. In some quarters, the water level is higher than two times my height.”
More than 870 people were crammed into a Bago monastery on Friday night and were receiving food from monks and donated supplies.
“We arranged spaces for them to stay,” said local official Khin Maung.
Min Thaw, 66, said the ground floor of his two-storey house was inundated with water and the family had chosen to stay upstairs.
Residents wade through a flooded street following monsoon rains in Bago township, Bago region, Myanmar, on Friday.