Authorities relocate West Thiri villagers in fear of riverbank erosion

Thet Htain Win
The bank eroded by the river water


Authorities relocated 13 families from West Thiri village in Pakokku Township, Magway region during September and they are struggling with their everyday living, said locals.

A total of 18 families from the village were evacuated in an emergency as the riverbank erosion continues to occur in the quick tide.

Cultivable soils in the river are also destroyed and the locals that were relocated cannot buy land as land prices are expensive for them, sources said.

“The riverbank is badly damaged. The erosion did not stop and villagers have to pile up their belongings somewhere. They have no land on which to build their homes. Now they are taking shelter at their relatives’ homes. Their request for a new land is submitted to the authorities,” said a villager Than Hlaing.

A total of 69 houses and a monastery were demolished last year as well as a pagoda and many plantations were destroyed as a result of riverbank erosion.

The regional government has planned a new place to relocate the villagers and at the present, a total of 69 houses are relocated.

“We demarcated the land plots for the villagers relocated in 2017 and the villagers relocated in this year cannot stay there as we haven’t made demarcation there for them. We requested the authorities to relocate them as soon as possible. Water covered the village in high tide,” he said.

The township natural disaster management committee provided K100,000 for a family household to cover relocation expenses, one-week provision and nine relief aid.

Most villagers are living on odd jobs as most of the plantations in the village were destroyed. They are struggling to make a living as their village is far away from the urban area.

People were evacuated to safer areas due to continuous riverbank erosion.

There is a low number of villages which faced erosion in this year in the township and some villages in Yesagyo Township faced erosion seriously.