Pantanaw villager Aung Lwin follows a makeshift bamboo bridge into his flooded shop and home. (PHOTO: Simon Roughneen)
Monsoonal Squalor by Simon Roughneen
The Irrawaddy region is the rice bowl of a country that was once the world’s biggest rice exporter and that still consumes 210 kg of rice per person each year, making up 75 percent of the country’s diet, according to government figures. According to the Myanmar Rice Federation, 33 million acres of rice paddy were planted in the Irrawaddy region this year, with 260,000 acres of this affected by flooding.
In the main Pantanaw town 4 miles away, afternoon rains smash loud as pelted stones into corrugated iron roofs, the downpour quickly turning dry side streets into muddy bogs.