World

Relief operations continue as death toll hits 63 in Myanmar from flooding and landslides

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — The military and humanitarian groups are aiding people in northwestern Myanmar, where days of flooding and landslides killed more than 60 people and affected 15,000 families, state media and the United Nations reported Monday.

In Rakhine state, the torrential rains triggered floods and mudslides that washed away homes, damaged schools and bridges and caused 63 deaths, according to Monday's official count.

The death toll could rise because villagers were returning to homes on steep hills that still are vulnerable to landslides, said a U.N. official, who declined to be named since he was not authorized to speak with the media.

The New Light of Myanmar newspaper said local military commanders in the junta-ruled nation and authorities aided victims and inspected repair and recovery efforts in the state's seriously hit Buthidaung and Maungdaw regions.

The government, United Nations and other humanitarian organizations have provided clothing, medicine, household utensils, food and cash for the victims, state media and a U.N. press release said.

Many of the flood victims were housed at schools and temporary shelters since the rains began June 13 and did not end until midweek.

The U.N. said up to 15,000 families were affected, while state media said only more than 2,000 people suffered from the flooding.

Flooding is common in Asia during the monsoon season that typically starts in late May.

Cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar in May 2008, leaving more than 140,000 people dead or missing.