Myanmar dam breach floods 85 villages, thousands driven from homes

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SWAR CREEK DAM: As many as 85 villages were flooded in Myanmar after a dam failed, unleashing waters that blocked a major highway and forced more than 63,000 people from their homes, a state-run newspaper said on Thursday. The disaster spotlights safety concerns about dams in Southeast Asia after last month`s collapse of a hydroelectric dam in neighbouring Laos that displaced thousands of people and killed at least 27.

Firefighters, troops and officials launched a desperate rescue effort on Wednesday after the spillway of an irrigation dam burst at Swar creek in central Myanmar, sending a torrent of water through villages and the nearby towns of Swar and Yedashe. By Thursday morning the water was receding, but two people remained missing and were feared to have been washed away, said Min Thu, deputy administrator of Yedashe.

“People whose villages are on higher ground are preparing to go back to their villages,” he told Reuters. The ruptured spillway had flooded 85 villages, affecting more than 63,000 people and submerging a section of highway, the Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper said.
Traffic between Myanmar`s major cities of Yangon and Mandalay and the capital, Naypyitaw, was disrupted after the flooding damaged a bridge on the highway linking the cities.

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