Dramatic riverbank erosion in Myanmar has washed away a Buddhist pagoda, amid heavy flooding across large parts of the country that has displaced tens of thousands and caused two deaths.
Video provided to Reuters by a Buddhist monk near Pakokku, 520 kilometres north of the commercial hub of Yangon, showed a gold-leaf-covered pagoda slipping into the raging waters of the Ayeyarwady late last week.
The abbott at the pagoda, U Pyinnya Linkkara, said flooding was common in the area during the monsoon that runs from May to October, but this year’s floods caused alarming erosion.
Some riverside villages have been washed away entirely, he said.
“The villagers are now scared to live here,” he said.
“The flooding has now decreased, but erosion continues.”
Water levels have risen steadily since unrelenting monsoon rain began to lash the heart of the South-East Asian country in early July, driving some people to higher land or seek shelter in Buddhist monasteries, a disaster relief official said.
“The situation is under control, but what happens now will depend on the weather,” said Ko Ko Naing, director general of the ministry of social welfare, relief and resettlement.
The government has provided food and other assistance to a total of 116,817 displaced people, as well as longer-term shelter for those outside settlements where flood waters are not expected to subside immediately, he said.
One man drowned in the floods in the Sagaing region and another was swept away while crossing a stream in Chin state, a resettlement official said.