Rising floodwaters have swallowed a Buddhist pagoda in central Myanmar and sent tens of thousands fleeing their homes, as the government warned of more heavy rains ahead. Dramatic footage circulating on social media showed the riverside pagoda sinking into the flood waters in Mag way region, with shocked bystanders looking on as its golden spire collapsed beneath the waves. Monk Pyinnya Linkara, who filmed the footage, said the pagoda was destroyed on Thursday last week.
“This pagoda was built in 2009, when it was far away from the river,” he told AFP by phone on Monday. “Year by year, the river has eroded the land and now the pagoda has fallen into the river.” At least two people have died and more than 90,000 people have been displaced by flooding across central and southern Myanmar in July, according to the government. Most are in Mag way region, where the pagoda collapsed and more than 60,000 have been forced to flee the rising waters.
The government’s hydrology department has issued flood warnings for several townships in the coming days as strong monsoon rains continue to drench the country. Impoverished Myanmar is one of the most disaster-prone countries in Asia, often struck by cyclones, flooding, extreme temperatures and occasional earthquakes.