Parts of towns in southern Shan state, including Loilem, Taunggyi, and Yawnghwe remained underwater Wednesday, after weeks of non-stop rain and serious flooding. Much of the rain was brought on by back to back typhoons occurring a week ago, with flooding in other areas exacerbated by the necessary release of excess water from overburdened dams. Hundreds of households and roads are underwater in the Shan state, making local travel difficult.
Because of the difficulty of travel, bus fares from Taunggyi to Panglong, (a distance of 63 miles, or 100km) has doubled, ballooning from 5,000 Kyat ($6.25 USD) to 10,000 Kyat ($12.5 USD), according to sources in the Shan State South. With many trucks trapped because of high waters, the prices of important commodities like oil and rice have also risen.
Elsewhere, Karenni Development Research Group (KDRG) reports that the release of water from the Moebye (Mongpai) dam in Shan State has inundated several communities in Loikaw, the capital of Kayah (Karenni) state, located downstream of the Baluchaung River. Dam related floods have stoked fears of ongoing Chinese led mega dam projects among communities in Burma, according to the KDRG.
Chinese dam development in Burma has received much attention from the international community as of late. Last week’s surprise announcement concerning the cancellation of the 3.6 billion USD Myitsone dam project on the Irawaddy has caused tensions between the two countries. However, dozens of other Chinese dam projects continue unimpeded, receiving little attention outside of the region.