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Floods and landslides in southern Myanmar – at least 41 dead

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PHOTOS: SBS News

The latest in the flood situation in southern Myanmar…

• Continuous monsoon rain since the start of the month has resulted to flooding in several areas in Southern Myanmar – Ayeyarwady, Bago, Kayin, Mon, and Tanintharyi.

• According to the Department of Disaster Management, a rain-induced landslide occurred in a village in Paung Township (Mon State) on Friday. Search & Rescue operations has so far recovered 41 dead bodies, and believed another 41 are still missing. Rescued injured residents are immediately sent to hospitals for medical care.

• Department of Disaster Management is providing relief and cash assistance to affected families. In addition, key Government officials (including the Vice President) inspected the ongoing Search & Rescue operations in the landslide area today, and visited affected families in several areas to provide encouragement and assistance.

• Initial impact data estimates at least 46,000 were displaced across Southern Myanmar due to the flooding, and at least 4,000 houses were damaged. Several bridges and roads were also damaged, further adding challenge to the ongoing disaster response operations. Damage assessment and data gathering is continuously being conducted.

• The Department of Meteorology and Hydrology forecasts that water level conditions in Shwegyin River at Shwegyin township (Bago Region) and Thanlwin River at Hpaan township (Kayin State) might reach dangerous water levels again tomorrow morning. Moreover, rain forecast models suggest continuation of monsoon rain over the next three days in Mon and Tanintharyi.

• AHA Centre is continuously monitoring the event, and will issue updates should there be any significant development.

Updated information from Relief Web

Floods and landslides in southern Myanmar - at least 41 dead | News by Thaiger

 

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Myanmar

Former pageant queen in Myanmar sides with ethnic armies opposing military coup

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Photo via Facebook/ Htar Htet Htet

A former pageant queen Htar Htet Htet has been vocal about her opposition to the military takeover in her home country, Myanmar. But recently, she took her stance even farther by posting a photo of herself in a black combat outfit with an assault rifle, showing support for the ethnic armies fighting against the state military.

The Myanmar military took over the civilian government in February, ousting the state counsellor who had won the election in a landslide. Since then around 750 people have been killed by security forces.

Ethnic armies that occupy border regions have opposed the military takeover, including the prominent armed wing of the Karen National Union. Recently, Karen troops attacked and took over a state military outpost near the Thai border. Around 2,000 people have fled to Thailand to escape the violence.

The 32 year old, who represented Mynamar in the 2013 Miss Grand International pageant in Thailand, wrote on Facebook saying “the time has come to fight back.”

“Whether you hold a weapon, pen, keyboard or donate money to the pro-democracy movement, everyone must do their bit for the revolution to succeed.

I will fight back as much as I can. I am ready and prepared to give up everything. I am even ready to pay with my life.”

Former pageant queen in Myanmar sides with ethnic armies opposing military coup | News by Thaiger

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Thailand

More than 15,000 foreigners arrested since January for illegal border crossings

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Photo via Facebook/ Kanchanaburi News

Thousands of foreign nationals have been arrested this year for illegally crossing land borders into Thailand. Due to fears that those entering Thailand illegally and evading the mandatory 14-day quarantine could possibly lead to the spread of Covid-19, particularly more contagious variants of the virus, Thai authorities say they will take tough legal action on illegal migrants and labour traffickers.

From January 1 to May 9, a total of 15,378 people have been arrested for illegally crossing land borders into Thailand. Out of the people arrested, 6,072 were from Myanmar, 5,114 were from Cambodia and 882 were from Laos.

The Thai Immigration Bureau is working with border patrol officers to tighten security along Thailand’s borders, the bureau’s chief Sompong Chingduang told the Bangkok Post.

“Those who enter Thailand illegally will be prosecuted under the immigration law, the communicable diseases and the emergency decree.”

In Thailand’s last wave of Covid-19 infections in December and January, fingers pointed at illegal Burmese migrants as the epicentre of infections were concentrated at a fishing hub in Samut Sakhon, affecting a large migrant worker population.

With the recent wave of infections peaking drastically higher than the past outbreaks in Thailand and said to be linked to the more contagious variant of the virus first found in the UK, health officials are now tightening security and control measures along the borders to prevent more cases.

Border security is also being increased to prevent the emergence of the variant of the virus first detected in India. The director of the Health Science Centre of Emerging Diseases at Chulalongkorn University’s faculty of medicine made a post on Facebook saying he was concerned the variant could be imported into Thailand and cause another wave of infections.

“In the next few months, the variant found in India may slip across the border into Thailand from Myanmar. Business operators are now importing illegal migrants again… If the border is left unchecked like this and no tough measures are imposed in Bangkok and adjacent provinces, brace yourselves for a fourth wave. The current third wave will pale by comparison.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Health officials point to Thailand’s porous borders as biggest “Indian variant” threat

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Flickr / Ole Holbech

Thailand’s health officials say the Kingdom’s porous borders pose the greatest risk in terms of the so-called Indian variant of Covid-19 being imported. Prasit Watanapa from the Faculty of Medicine at Siriraj Hospital says there is a distinct possibility the highly contagious variant, currently wreaking havoc with India’s healthcare system, could be imported by migrants slipping into the country illegally.

“What is worrying us now is the possible arrival of this new coronavirus variant through the country’s border areas, given the fact that more than 15,000 illegal migrants have sneaked in over the past 4 months. So, it is now very critical to step up security measures along the borders shared with Myanmar, Malaysia, and Cambodia. The Thai-Laos border isn’t as much of a concern.”

According to a Bangkok Post report, Prasit believes the B.1.617.1 variant is most likely to arrive from India via the subcontinent and then Myanmar. He warns that were this to happen, it would take less than a week for B.1.617.1 to arrive in Thailand.

On Sunday, tests on a strain of Covid-19 detected in a Thai woman recently arrived from Pakistan confirmed she was infected with the B.1.617.1 variant. The 42 year old woman was tested while in state quarantine and, once it was confirmed that she was carrying the Indian variant, was moved to Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital.

Kiattiphum Wongrajit from the Public Health Ministry shares Prasit’s concerns and is calling on everyone living in border areas to remain vigilant and report any sightings of potential illegal migrants. He adds that not much is known yet about the B.1.617.1 variant, including whether or not it is more resistant to Covid-19 vaccines.

Meanwhile, Opas Karnkawinpong from the Department of Disease Control says illegal border crossings remain a source of significant concern for health officials. He says immigration officials have apprehended 1,218 illegal migrants this month alone. Most of those detained had arrived from Cambodia and Myanmar and Opas has urged officials to tighten border security and called on locals living in border areas to work with the authorities to end the illegal crossings.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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