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Myanmar dam burst flooded 85 villages, driving thousands of homes

YANGON (Reuters) – In Myanmar, after a dam failure, 85 villages were flooded, clearing waters that blocked a main road and displaced more than 63,000 people from their homes. This was announced by a state newspaper on Thursday.

A flooded area after a dam breach is seen near Swar Township in Myanmar on August 29, 2018. REUTERS / Antoni Slodkowski

The disaster highlights security concerns over dams in Southeast Asia following the collapse of a dam in neighboring Laos that displaced thousands of people and killed at least 27 people.

Firefighters, troops and officials launched a desperate rescue operation on Wednesday after the spillway of an irrigation dam on Swar Creek in central Myanmar burst and sent a stream of water through villages and the nearby cities of Swar and Yedashe.

Evacuees stay in a temple after a dam near Swar Township in Myanmar, August 29, 2018. REUTERS / Antoni Slodkowski

The flood at the dam wall has dropped, said Zaw Lwin Tun, deputy director-general of the Irrigation and Water Use Department, Global New Light of Myanmar.

"The collapse is caused by the damaged overflow," the newspaper quoted him. "The dam is in good condition."

The ruptured spillway had flooded 85 villages, affecting more than 63,000 people and submerged a section of the freeway, the paper added.

Days before, the authorities had given the all clear for the dam, which can hold 216,350 acre-feet of water, despite residents' concerns over a flood, state media said.

The traffic between Myanmar's capitals Yangon and Mandalay and the capital Naypyitaw was interrupted after the flood damaged a bridge over the highway.

Reporting by Simon Lewis; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

Our standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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