Bago villages decimated by riverbank erosion

Riverbank erosion in Bago
Riverbank erosion in Bago.

This year’s riverbank erosion has decimated most of the farmland belonging to the villages at the Motama bend of the Sittaung estuary, on the eastern side of Bago Region’s Kawa township.
February of this year saw 239 dwellings and over 2,000 acres of farmland fall victim to land erosion, with surrounding villages also loosing swathes of arable land.
“Nearly all arable riverbanks and farmland in the Shwetisout village have been swept away. The adjacent village has seen over a thousand acres of farmland disappear. Everyone is out of work, and an income, as work revolved around these farmlands. People are having to live off whatever work they can get their hands on.” explained U Kyaw Htay, administrator of Shwetisout village.
The erosion has caused a multitude of difficulties for local family’s and their livelihoods, with the local school and monastery also being swallowed up by the river.
“The whole of Shwetisout village has been destroyed. The village of Sarhphyu, situated behind Shwetisout village, also lost their farmland to the eroding estuary, forcing them to establish a new village. The very fertile riverbank land was all washed away. People that lived off what crops they grew are now having to feed themselves by purchasing rice. In terms of employment, everyone here is out of work.” said U Moe Thu, a farmer from Sarphyu village whose farmland was lost to land erosion.
The aforementioned villages started suffering from small scale, and annual, riverbank erosion back in 2007-08, but a disastrous bout of riverbank erosion this February had calamitous affects on local farmland.
Despite no reported cases of any missing individuals resulting from the erosion, displaced local villagers have faced difficulties earning their livelihoods since February of this year, cutting timber and tending to remaining livestock in order to survive.

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