In some areas of Myanmar during this year’s devastating monsoon season, floods have been up to six feet [two metres] deep. As rain battered homes and water levels began to rise, Mi Sazai’s anxiety levels soared.
The relentless downpour left 21-year-old Mi Sazai and the other nine members of her family – four of them children – stranded for two weeks in the upper room of their wooden home in Kyaik Maraw Township, in the southern State of Mon.
“I was scared that our house would be submerged,” she says. “And I was scared of a landslide.”
Earlier this year a landslide at her school killed one person, and she also recalls the deaths of 60 people two years ago in a nearby village, after the massive landslide that followed heavy rains like these.
“I was also worried about my sick mother running out of her medicines, and all of us having no food.”
The family desperately tried to cope by moving their belongings to the second floor, reducing meals from three to two a day, and collecting and boiling rainwater to drink.
“The only one who didn’t worry was my three-year-old niece as, fortunately, she didn’t know what was going on,” says Mi Sazai.
Monsoon season – one more terrifying challenge
Since July 25, floods have destroyed thousands of homes in townships in southern and eastern Myanmar and in the western State of Rakhine. The rains come amidst a third wave of COVID-19 and violent clashes between the military and local armed groups.
UNICEF is working with local NGO partners to distribute relief supplies to the communities affected by the floods. For example, in Mi Sazai’s village, UNICEF partnered with a local NGO, the Women and Child Organization.