Drought causes water shortage in Myanmar

Myanmar (Burma) is hit by a drought this year, which is the most severe in several decades. Temperature has been higher this year than previous years in Myanmar (Burma) and rain fall is late, causing severe shortage of water in many parts of Myanmar. In April, temperature has risen as high as 40 degree Celsius, according to government meteorological department. In some parts of Myanmar, temperature is as high as 43 degree Celsius. As a result, many streams and water reservoirs were dried up all over Myanmar.

Inle Lake in Myanmar dried up due to sever drought

Photo: Eleven News

Local news journals reported that Inle Lake, which is the major tourist destination in Shan State, has been dried up in many parts.

Water shortage is most severe in Ayeyarwaddy (Irrawaddy), Sagaing, Yangon (Rangoon), Mandalay and Bago (Pegu) Divisions and Mon, Rakhine and Shan States.

“All the wells are now dried up. We have to buy drinking water   at a high price. 500 kyats (US$ 0.50) per barrel at the private tube well, but 1500 kyats (US$ 1.5) delivered at home”, said one resident from Mandalay.

According to U Tun Lwin, a retired Director General from Government Meteorological Department, the cause of drying up of wells is due to the depletion of underground water supply due to late entry of Monsoon.

Diarrhea outbreaks were also reported in some parts of Myanmar. According to official news papers, 82 diarrhea patients were treated at Waw Township hospital between May 5 and 11.

In Yangon Division, Dala Township, which is just across Yangon River from Downtown Yangon, was hard hit by the drought and shortage of water. Villagers in many villages in Dala Township find it difficult to find even clean drinking water.

“People have to drink cloudy water from dried up wells. In some villages, people put alum to the river water to make it clear to drink. This is not very healthy”, said one person who went there to donate clean drinking water to the locals.

Many individuals in Myanmar are trying to help those people affected by draught. Famous movie star Kyaw Thu, who is famous for his social works, is also among those who try to help by donating clean drinking water to those affected. Many young individuals are also trying their best to donate water.

“We have to transport water from Yangon to Dala by water samban (boat). One boat can carry 1000 gallons of water. It cost 10,000 kyat (US$ 10) per boat load of water. On the other side, we transferred water into water barrels and transport to the villages.”

In photos in personal blogs, people were seen line up for water in the affected villages. Myanmar bloggers have also asked for donation for water to the drought affected villages in their blog. Social network Facebook is also vital in organizing the donation and social works among the Myanmar youth as many of them are regular users of Facebook, and many members discuss about how to help in the Facebook pages.

One blogger also pledged for donations for the water in her blog. The blog post and some photos can be read here.

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