Bago : Monsoon rains caused a central Myanmar dam to overflow on Wednesday, inundating about 100 villages and blocking the country’s biggest highway, a government official said.

No casualties have been reported but thousands were displaced and took shelter in temporary camps. Swar Chaung dam’s spillway structure, which regulates the release of water from the levee, broke due to heavy seasonal rainfall in Bago region, authorities said.

The water gushed into the rural flatland region as people fled their homes on foot, clutching bags of belongings, according to footage of the aftermath. The weight of the floodwater also fractured part of a bridge on the Yangon-Mandalay highway, which serves as an important artery between Myanmar’s two biggest cities.

“We don’t have exact data about the number of victims but the water has hit villages where more than 50,000 people live,” Ministry of Social Welfare director Phyu Lae Lae Tun told AFP. She added a total of 12,000 households in some 100 villages are affected by the floods.

Army chief Min Aung Hlaing, under mounting international pressure over Rohingya issue, was quick to reach the spot. “We have to work together,” he told local media. “The spillway cannot be controlled currently and the water will not stop.”

Tsunami scare in Pacific islands

Sydney: Small tsunami waves lapped New Caledonia, Fiji and Vanuatu on Wednesday after a strong quake in the Pacific Oc­e­an, but the threat passed wi­thout any damage reported. After the 7.1 quake struck off the eastern coast of New Cale­do­nia, warning centre said wa­ves reaching 0.3 to 1 m above the tide level” were possible.

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