Cyclone Mocha brings severe flooding to Magway Region

Cyclone Mocha swept into central Myanmar at over 100mph on Sunday, causing major floods in several towns and villages near the Salin Creek in Magway Region, and resulting in at least one death. 

In the town of Sinphyukyun, Salin Township, 40-year-old Aye Thin Soe and her mother Aye Than, 70, were carried away by the floodwaters on Sunday evening while trying to pack their possessions for evacuation, according to a relative.

Aye Than’s body was found on Monday morning, but Aye Thin Soe is still missing. 

“I think they were still gathering their things when the flooding started. The floodwaters got too high at some point. The mother was carried off first and then the daughter, who was trying to pull her mother back. The monks and others at the monastery saw them,” the relative said.

Searching for both victims on Monday morning, relatives and social welfare groups found Aye Than’s body in Kyet Hin Khar Kyun village, Salin Township, located just south of Sinphyukyun.

A local Sinphyukyun man also said he and other inhabitants of the town had to evacuate hastily as the Salin Creek, a tributary of the Ayeyarwady River, unexpectedly began overflowing its banks in the evening of May 14.

“The water was at mid-thigh level on the roads downtown and close to our home, and up to chest level near the Salin Creek, which is just west of town. The water has gone back down now but it’s left behind a lot of mud and sediment,” he said.

He added that the flood had completely swept away houses near the bank of the creek, and that some occupants lost all of their belongings because they had to prioritise their survival.

“The water level didn’t rise gradually. The current was strong and fast,” the Sinphyukyun resident said.

The flood affected other villages along the banks of the Salin Creek.

A local man from Nwe Ta Mei, which is located west of Sinphyukyun on the opposite bank and is home to around 2,000 people, said most of the village had been destroyed in the flood.

“It started flooding out of nowhere and no one had any time to gather their belongings. Some of the smaller houses were carried off by the current and all the livestock were killed,’ the Nwe Ta Mei resident said.

After the water levels went down, locals had returned to clean up and sort through the wreckage of their homes, he added.

A report issued by the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology at 7am today said Cyclone Mocha was moving to the north and east from near Katha, Sagaing Region, and was expected to weaken into an inland storm in the next six hours.

The report also said that Sagaing and Mandalay regions as well as Kachin and Shan states, which the storm may still reach, are currently at a “brown” alert level, while Chin and Rakhine states are at a “green” alert level now that the storm has already passed through. 

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