August 29, 2018 / 10:37 AM / a year ago

More than 50,000 evacuate homes in Myanmar after dam breach, officials say

YANGON (Reuters) - More than 50,000 people evacuated their homes in central Myanmar on Wednesday after a dam breach flooded towns and villages and caused the closure of a major highway, two officials said.

Fire authorities sent a team to the Swar irrigation dam after the breach at 5:30 a.m. (2300 GMT) unleashed water into the nearby town of Swar and several other settlements.

Many people, including some not directly hit by flooding, had decided to leave their homes for fear the water level could rise further, said an official of the Natural Disaster Management Department who asked not to be identified, in the absence of authorisation to speak to media.

In all, 12,000 households or a total of 54,000 people had been displaced, said another official, from the Department of Relief and Resettlement, who also declined to be named.

Reporting by Aye Min Thant and Simon Lewis

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