6 June 2024

21 people have drowned, as thousands of worshippers attempted to cross a flooded causeway in Myanmar, after making merit at a Buddhist pagoda.

The incident occurred as thousands of people were returning from the Kyeik Hne Pagoda, located on rocks roughly two kilometres off the shore, near the town of Thanbyuzayat in southern Mon state, according to a Thai PBS reporter in Mae Sot district of Thailand’s Tak province

Worshippers accessed the pagoda using a tidal causeway. After worship, while they were returning to the shore, the tide rose rapidly, assisted by strong gusts of wind, and many fell from the crowded causeway into the sea.

Rescue workers said the causeway normally opens at 6.30am, but the worshippers had tried to cross earlier, when the tidewas too high to make the journey safely.

A local resident also told reporters that the causeway, which is only 4 metres wide, is not marked clearly enough, making it difficult to navigate.

Thai PBS World, AFP