At least 85,000 people in Myanmar have fled their homes as the worst monsoon flooding in years submerged hundreds of thousands of hectares of rice fields, a government relief official said on Saturday.

Heavy rains over the last few weeks caused the inundation, which primarily affected the country’s southern delta region.

Around 70,000 people have been displaced in the delta and are being housed at 219 emergency relief centres set up at schools and monasteries. Another 15,000 people have been displaced elsewhere in the country, and more than 240,000 hectares of rice fields have been swamped.

Annual monsoon rains often cause flooding in the region, and this year’s are the heaviest since 2004.

The delta region was devastated in 2008 by Cyclone Nargis, which killed about 130,000 people.

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