Heavy rain has raised the Uru Hka River water levels causing heavy flooding in the homes near jade mining operations in Hpakant township in Kachin State, northern Burma.
A resident said the flooding which started on July 16 is making life hard for everyone involved.
“Some people had to move to their relative’s home who have a second floor in order to escape water levels which has flooded the ground levels,” said the resident.
The flooding has forced schools to close and affected about 50 homes in Mashi Kahtawng and 50 homes in Hpakant. Classes at a school in Seng Tawng village have been suspended because it’s too dangerous to cross the suspension bridge over the Uru Hka River. Food prices are also rising.
The Uru Hka River typically floods every four or five years. However debris from the government’s jade mining operations in the surrounding area have raised the river’s bottom. Flooding is now occurring every year.
The Burmese military ordered all jade mining companies to suspend work in the area in May following heavy fighting with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in the areas surrounding Hpakant.
But the environmental damage to the river has already been done after years of careless mining operations.
The Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) is still allowing mobile jade operations in the area.
Hpakant residents are worried about more flooding if the rain continues.