Myanmar floods: More than 20 die and many displaced

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Apartments are destroyed following a landslide due to heavy rain in Harkhar, Chin State of Myanmar on 30 JulyImage source, AFP
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Apartments buildings in Chin State collapsed following a landslide

More than 20 people have died and others are missing after weeks of unrelenting rain caused flash flooding in Myanmar.

Severe weather in the north and west of the country also led to landslides, trapping many people in remote towns and villages.

One report said up to 150,000 people had been displaced or had their livelihoods affected.

More torrential rain is expected in the coming days.

Continuous rain since 16 July had destroyed farmland, roads, rail tracks, bridges and houses, another report said.

"As of Thursday, 27 people have died around the country and four are missing in the Mandalay region," the director of the Relief and Resettlement Department at the social welfare ministry told AFP.

The United Nations said the military in Myanmar (also called Burma) was working alongside local aid groups to carry out rescue and relief operations.

A cyclone forming in the Bay of Bengal is likely to bring further rain and strong winds, according to the Global New Light Of Myanmar newspaper.

Image source, EPA
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Many people are trapped by rising water

'Run for your lives'

Authorities are urging those who can move freely, to travel to safer areas.

Flights to the city of Sittwe in the western state of Rakhine have been cancelled.

It is home to around 140,000 displaced people, mainly Rohingya Muslims, who live in makeshift camps close to the coast.

"People had to run for their lives. Some people are now sheltering at schools in Thechaung and Bumay villages," one eyewitness said.

On Friday, state newspapers reported that President Thein Sein was urging cabinet ministers to travel to affected areas to supervise flood relief operations.

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
Flood victims have been receiving supplies from local aid groups