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Myanmar dam flooded 85 villages, driving thousands of homes



YANGON (Reuters) – In Myanmar, 85 villages have already been flooded following a dam failure. They triggered water that blocked a main road and forced more than 63,000 people out of their homes, a state newspaper said Thursday.

A flood area after a dam burst near Swar Township in Myanmar, August 29, 201

8. REUTERS / Antoni Slodkowski

The disaster raises safety concerns over dams in Southeast Asia following the collapse of a dam in neighboring Laos, which is home to thousands of people Displaced people and killed at least 27 people.

Firefighters, troops and officials launched a desperate bailout on Wednesday after the spillway of an irrigation dam on Swar Creek in central Myanmar burst the nearby cities of Swar and Yedashe.

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

Floods at the dam have receded, Zaw Lwin Tun, deputy director general of Irrigation and Water Utilization Management Department, told the newspaper Global New Light of Myanmar.

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

The torn-off spillway had flooded 85 villages, affecting more than 63,000 people and sank a section of the freeway, the paper added.

Days before, the authorities cleared the dam, which can hold 216,350 acre-feet of water, despite residents' concerns about the flood, state media said.

Traffic between Myanmar's capitals Yangon and Mandalay and the capital Naypyitaw was cut short after flood events damaged a bridge on the connecting road.

Reporting by Simon Lewis; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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