Myanmar’s president visits area worst-hit by flooding

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Kalay, Myanmar — Myanmar’s president has visited one of the worst-hit areas of the flood-stricken country, saying that water levels are slowly receding and that he hopes people can soon return to their homes.

President Thein Sein spoke Sunday from Kalay town in Sagaing division in northwestern Myanmar, where two weeks of rain caused severe flooding, cutting off the area from land transport. He told state TV that the government plans to begin reconstruction once evacuated people return to their homes.

Vehicles make their way through a flooded road in Bago, 80 kilometers (50 miles) northeast of Yangon, Myanmar, Saturday, Aug 1, 2015. Myanmar’s president has declared several regions of the country to be disaster zones, as forecasts of heavy rain for the next few days have heightened fears that already dire flooding in many parts of the country will get worse. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)

A report issued Saturday by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs cited Myanmar disaster officials estimating that more than 156,000 people had been affected by flooding. It added that at least 27 people had died due to flooding last month, and that the numbers were likely to rise.

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A Buddhist monk delivers foods to children evacuated from their flooded houses with their family at a monastery in Bago, 80 kilometers (50 miles) northeast of Yangon, Myanmar, Saturday, Aug 1, 2015. Myanmar’s president has declared several regions of the country to be disaster zones, as forecasts of heavy rain for the next few days have heightened fears that already dire flooding in many parts of the country will get worse. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)

Local residents wade through a flooded road in Bago, 80 kilometers (50 miles) northeast of Yangon, Myanmar, Saturday, Aug 1, 2015. Myanmar’s president has declared several regions of the country to be disaster zones, as forecasts of heavy rain for the next few days have heightened fears that already dire flooding in many parts of the country will get worse. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)