A 17-year-old boy drowned in Taunggyi on Wednesday after falling into an overflowing canal, becoming the second person in less than a month to lose his life due to flooding in the Shan State capital.
The victim, Khun Aung Thein, died after he fell into a canal that was swollen beyond its capacity by heavy rainfall. His body was discovered in a stream seven miles from Taunggyi.
“The water current was very strong because the canal flows down a hill. The canal’s capacity is very limited. After he fell in, he was quickly carried away,” Taunggyi resident Sai Nay Lin told SHAN, adding that lower parts of the city are often flooded after heavy rain.
“I have faced flooding twice this year. The water was four feet deep in my garden yesterday,” said another Taunggyi resident, Ma Thanda Oo, who lives in the city’s Nyaung Pintha Ward.
Some blamed the recurring problem on the poor construction of the canal, but Ma Thanda Oo said that the way people use it was also a factor.
“According to the map, the canal was at least 20 feet wide. Now it’s just 6-7 feet wide. Some people have built walls or fences that go out into the canal. Some even fill it with soil. That’s why water can’t flow very well through the canal,” she said.
The only way to prevent future flooding, she said, was to remove garbage and other obstructions, including unauthorized construction.
“The canal should be rebuilt. In the past, there were experts who specialized in canal construction. They knew how to build a canal so that the water could flow easily. If we don’t reconstruct the canal, Taunggyi’s new town area and Shwe Nyaung will also be flooded. The impact is not only here,” she said.
On August 18, a 60-year old man was also killed by flooding in Taunggyi.