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18 Sep 2018 description
report Radio Free Asia

Myanmar’s largest non-state army is detaining several Christian clergy members for questioning and destroying churches in its self-proclaimed autonomous areas bordering China and Thailand in Shan state, according to a statement issued by the group.

The United Wa State Army (UWSA), a 30,000-strong ethnic armed group comprising the military wing of the United Wa State Party (UWSP), the de facto ruling party of the self-declared Wa state not officially recognized by the Myanmar government, has conducted these activities since Sept. 13, sources said.

07 Sep 2018 description
report Radio Free Asia

The number of dead continues to climb as updated reports come in from remote areas of Laos hit by flooding and landslides in recent weeks, Lao sources say.

In Houaphanh province in eastern Laos, heavy rains last week poured down a mountain into a valley, flooding a small river and slamming into villages nearby, an official of the province’s Labor and Social Welfare Department told RFA’s Lao Service on Thursday.

06 Sep 2018 description
report Radio Free Asia

Representatives of ethnic armies based along the China-Myanmar border met briefly with Myanmar government peace negotiators on Wednesday in a get-together described as positive but yielding little in the way of specific proposals, a spokesman for one of the militias told RFA’s Myanmar Service.

05 Sep 2018 description
report Radio Free Asia

Representatives from a coalition of ethnic armies based along the China-Myanmar border will meet with members of the government’s peace commission in southwest China on Wednesday to discuss ways to end decades of civil war, a spokesman for one of the militias told RFA on Tuesday.

The meeting will mark the first time that the Union Peace Commission is meeting with the Arakan Army (AA), Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), and Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), said TNLA spokesman Brigadier General Ta Phone Kyaw.

01 Sep 2018 description
report Radio Free Asia

Widespread flooding in Laos in recent weeks has blocked the start of the school year in the Southeast Asian country, with as many as 1,000 schools left unable to open by the Sept. 3 beginning of the new term, Lao sources say.

Speaking to RFA’s Lao Service on Aug. 30, an official of the Ministry of Education and Sports said that most primary and secondary schools in the country will not open next week.

01 Sep 2018 description
report Radio Free Asia

NGOS and a local government disaster management worker took the Myanmar government to task on Thursday for failing to issue a warning that a breach in a spillway of the Swar dam in Bago region would flood dozens of villages, a day after the catastrophe killed one person and displaced tens of thousands of others.

31 Aug 2018 description
report Radio Free Asia

Flooding from heavy rainfall has killed at least six people in northern Laos’ Luang Prabang province since the weekend, an official from the provincial Labor and Social Welfare Department said Thursday, as the Southeast Asian is battered by seasonal monsoons.

“Six are dead — two in Nam Bak district, one in Luang Prabang city, one in Ngeun district, and one in Ngon district, plus one child from an unknown location,” said the official who declined to be named.

30 Aug 2018 description
report Radio Free Asia

The collapse of a spillway of a dam in central Myanmar’s Bago region early Wednesday caused flooding that killed one woman and left six others missing as it submerged roughly 60 villages and affected more than 63,400 people, a regional lawmaker said.

Those displaced by the breaching of the spillways of the Swar dam in Swar township have moved to Yedashe and Taungoo townships where they are staying in monasteries or temporary camps after their houses were partly or completely inundated with water.

23 Aug 2018 description
report Radio Free Asia

The Lao government’s offer of nearly U.S. $200 to the families of the 40 Laotians confirmed to have perished in flooding caused by a dam collapse in the southwestern part of the country last month is not sufficient, a retired health official said.

Families have been offered 1.7 million Lao kip (U.S. $198) for each person who died as a result of devastating floods triggered by a breach in a saddle dam at the U.S. $1 billion Xe Pian Xe Namnoy hydropower project in Champasak province on July 23.

22 Aug 2018 description
report Radio Free Asia

More than 1,000 families in northeast Cambodia’s Stung Treng province are facing extreme difficulties after heavy rainfall led a tributary of the Mekong River to flood their commune for the third time in a month, according to residents, who said a controversial hydropower dam was to blame.

Pey Mey, a resident of Sesan district’s Talat commune, told RFA’s Khmer Service on Tuesday that the Sesan River had overflowed its banks for the third time since the end of July, forcing the families from five villages in the commune to evacuate to higher ground.

21 Aug 2018 description
report Radio Free Asia

Eight young Tibetans who fled authoritarian rule in China in pursuit of a religious and cultural education without restrictions have arrived at a refugee center in India after being held for nearly a month by authorities in Nepal, according to members of the group.

19 Aug 2018 description
report Radio Free Asia

More than 5,000 Laotians living in temporary camps in Attapeu province following displacement by flooding from a dam collapse last month in neighboring Champassak province have appealed to the Lao government for more food, basic necessities, and cooking utensils, saying that officials have failed to deliver on a pledge to help them.

08 Aug 2018 description
report Radio Free Asia

Laos has suspended consideration of new hydropower projects in the country pending reviews of development policy after the breach of a dam last month left at least 34 dead with 100 still missing, Lao sources say.

The announcement followed an August 6-7 meeting of the country’s cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith at which plans were also made to carry out safety inspections of all hydropower projects already built or under construction in the Southeast Asian country.

03 Aug 2018 description
report Radio Free Asia

Around 300 villagers in northern Myanmar’s Shan state fled their homes on Thursday, fearing renewed fighting between the national military and ethnic armed groups seen approaching Namtu township, according to local sources.

Northern Alliance troops had taken up positions around Mangche village, where farmers saw them,” Mi Lenda, chief of Namtu’s Panglon village, told RFA’s Myanmar Service.

“These farmers told other villagers, and they fled their homes,” he said.

02 Aug 2018 description
report Radio Free Asia

Lao villagers hardest hit by the July 23 failure of a dam in Xe Pian Xe Namnoy hydropower project in Champassak province are still in a state of “panic” and refuse to return to their ruined villages, a local governor said on Wednesday as officials started building temporary housing for evacuees.

The chief of Sanamxay district in Attapeu province, Bounhome Phommasarn, also said the companies that built the failed dam were helping build temporary homes in the region to “express accountability” for a disaster that killed more than 30 people and left 117 missing.

26 Jul 2018 description
report Radio Free Asia

UPDATED at 1:05 P.M. EDT on 2018-07-25

At least 26 people are confirmed dead and 131 missing, Laos’ Prime Minister Thonglun Sisoulit confirmed Wednesday, as rescue efforts continued following a dam collapse he said had caused the country’s worst flooding in decades.

On the night of July 23, water poured over a saddle dam at the U.S. $1.02 billion Xe Pian Xe Namnoy hydropower project in southeastern Laos’ Champassak province, sweeping away homes and causing severe flooding in up to 12 villages downstream.

19 Jul 2018 description
report Radio Free Asia

Myanmar’s military said Wednesday that it has been returning to its rightful owners all unused lands it confiscated for decades from farmers, a day after a damning report by a human rights group said the country’s civilian government had largely failed to deliver on a pledge to seek justice for those whose property was taken.

“Some of the military-confiscated lands were not used,” Colonel Zaw Min Tun from the information department at the office of military commander-in-chief Senior General Min Aung Haling told RFA’s Myanmar Service.

18 Jul 2018 description
report Radio Free Asia

An ethnic armed group engaged in hostilities in Myanmar’s Shan state said Tuesday that government troops killed six female medics held in captivity, amid ongoing fighting in one of the most volatile regions of the country.

The Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), said government forces took the women as prisoners of war after ambushing them on the afternoon of July 11 in northern Shan’s Namkham township as they were traveling to a village in the northern part of the state, killing a TNLA soldier trying to protect them.

15 Jul 2018 description
report Radio Free Asia

Authorities in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan have declared a state of emergency after a mountainous region was hit by floods and landslides following days of torrential rain.

Thousands of travelers were left stranded after landslides and floods blocked major highways and the severe weather affected flights at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport, where 34 flights were delayed and seven canceled on Thursday.

12 Jul 2018 description
report Radio Free Asia

The Myanmar government opened the third round of its key peace talks on Wednesday in the latest attempt to make headway with its goal of forging lasting peace in the country after seven decades of armed conflict and strained relations with ethnic minority groups.