Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi visited one of the country's many flood-hit areas, raising her profile amid a national disaster that could have consequences in this November's general election.
President Thein Sein traveled Saturday to the Sagaing region in northern Myanmar, one of four areas where he has declared a state of emergency in response to a barrage of criticism in the press and on social media for failing to quickly mobilize relief.
"Many paddy fields were damaged. I'm here today with the flood victims to find out possible ways to support and replace their loss," he told reporters. "The water level is starting to drop slowly. Myanmar government team will try our best to help them for resettlement and recovery process."
The Ministry of Relief and Resettlement announced Monday that about 200,000 residents in northern and western Myanmar have been affected by the disaster, as the government, military and relief organizations scramble to carry out rescue operations and provide aid.
Weeks of heavy rains, made worse by a cyclone that hit late last week, caused flooding and landslides that have hit the western part of the country hardest. Some areas have seen floodwaters several meters deep.
In Rakhine state, along Myanmar’s southwestern coast, the U.N.’s humanitarian agency said Saturday that there are reports of “extensive damage” to camps around Sittwe, where 100,000 people already displaced by conflict in Myanmar have been staying.