Spillway collapse of Swar Chaung dam displace more than 60,000 residents in Bago Region

Writer: 
EMG reporter
A car was taken by the surge of water coming from the spillway collapse of Swar Chaung dam in Bago Region on August 29 morning. (Photo-EMG)
 
The spillway collapse of Swar Chaung dam killed one resident, missed six ones and displaced more than 60,000 in Toungoo District, Bago Region on August 29. A surge of water fractured the part of Swar Chaung bridge, and bridge supporting pillars were submerged under about one and a half feet of water, said Dr Kyaw Kyaw, a regional parliamentarian representing Yedashe of Bago Region.
 
A flow of water running out of Swar Chaung dam was submerging Yangon-Mandalay highway under about two feet of water starting 7 am on August 29. The RP 1 of the bridge was lowered about one and half feet. The road section mile post 199/4 on old Yangon-Mandalay highway was also inundated, reported by the Ministry of Construction.
 
At the moment, plans are underway to carry out a rapid repair to the bridge by the Ministry of Construction. The chief minister of Bago Region, the deputy minister of the Ministry of Construction, the heads of departments and local authorities quickly arrived to render assistance, according to the Ministry of Construction.
 
A gush of water coming from the collapse of the spillway of Swar Chaung dam flooded nearby villages and both highways of new Yangon-Mandalay and old Yangon-Mandalay. 
 
“The incident of the spillway collapse killed one person and was missing six according to the latest information received at about 2 pm on August 29. 85 villages from 17 village tracts in Toungoo District were inundated. The flash flood displaced more than 60,000 people. Rescue measures are being carried out and rescue camps opened,” said Dr Kyaw Kyaw.
 
Some people are still missing in the flash flood because it is very swift. Rescue measures are being carried out with added momentum, said Dr Kyaw Kyaw.
 
“We don’t know some people in the flash flood whether they are dead or not. We have found one body. It is an old-age woman,” said Dr Kyaw Kyaw.
 
The spillway broke about 7 am and Yangon-Mandalay Highway had to be temporarily closed. 
 
At about 10 am, Vice-President Henry Van Thio, Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, and Dr Win Myat Aye, Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement were quick to supervise rescue measures.
 
“We will have to work together in the event of a natural disaster. The spillway of the dam collapsed. The old Yangon-Mandalay Highway was worse. The vice-present and the deputy minister have already arrived at the scene. So far, more than 60,000 acres of farmlands have been inundated,” said Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
 
The highway had to be closed because of the flood for a few hours. At about 11 am, one lane of Swar Chaung bridge was reopened for home-use cars. 
 
The police officer of Yangon-Mandalay Highway said the flood water has descended. The authorities are still making checks on the bridge. The bridge lowered a little. 
 
Erosion makes the bridge lower and it must be repaired as soon as possible. A Bailey bridge will be constructed for travelers to see conveniences, said deputy minister Kyaw Lin.
 
Divers will go down to the hollows at the bottom of the water when the water becomes stable. When the hollows become stable, vehicles are allowed to pass on the bridge. Then, the Bailey bridge will be constructed for traffic, said deputy minister Kyaw Lin.
 
Plans are underway to evacuate the residents from Kyuntawsu, Uyinhmu villages and the villages along the creek to safer places as the flow of water flooded the villages. A car was taken by the flash water near toll gate of Swar. Moreover, the railway lines were inundated between Swar and Yedashe. Seven staff of Khungon railway station was trapped. The railway line services were temporarily closed. 
 
Translated and Edited by Win Htut