In Myanmar, Rains Displaced 119,000 in Earth's Latest Climate Disaster

People evacuating in Bago, Myanmar.
People evacuating in Bago, Myanmar.
Photo: AP

Another day, another extreme weather event disrupting life on our planet.

Torrential rains associated with Myanmar’s monsoon season have wrought havoc. Floods have killed at least 11 people and forced the evacuation of more than 119,000 throughout the country on Monday, reports Reuters. Three of the deceased include soldiers who were helping with relief efforts. Another three civilians drowned in the state of Mon on the southern coast. At the Zaung Tu Dam, 7.79 inches of rain fell on Wednesday last week, setting a new daily record.


The monsoon rains—which generally run through Octoberhelp feed crops, but this year, they’ve already taken way too many lives. Flood warnings came after floods had already inundated entire neighborhoods during the most recent events, reports the New York Times. That may have played a role in the deadly nature of these rains. Deforestation could have as well according to some environmentalists who spoke with the Times. Groups also blamed deadly floods in 2015 on deforestation.

Many of the rivers in Myanmar remain above their danger levels as of Monday, according to the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology.


In June, landslides and severe rains officially left nearly 20 dead in Myanmar (though local politicians and survivors say the number is likely higher). They also displaced more than a million people. The United Nations in Myanmar issued a statement Saturday that it is planning to offer any support possible to flood victims.

Climate change is expected to alter monsoon season. The monsoon season has already become shorter according to a 2017 report on Myanmar’s climate. That same report indicates that rainfall will likely increase during the season over the coming century.

Other countries in Southeast Asia are suffering from recent heavy rains, too. A dam failed in Laos last week due to heavy rains, and authorities are still trying to get a grip on how many people have died. All that water eventually made its way into Cambodia where thousands more people have had to flee their homes. In Bangladesh, heavy monsoon rains have lashed the Rohingya refugee camps, home to more than 900,000 people who were persecuted out of Myanmar.

All this goes to show that people who have contributed the least to climate change and are least equipped to deal with it will suffer the consequences.


Yessenia Funes is climate editor at Atmos Magazine. She loves Earther forever.

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East Asia seems to be getting clobbered this year.