Uyu River

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Coordinates: 24°51′N 94°57′E / 24.850°N 94.950°E / 24.850; 94.950 The Uyu River, also pronounced Uru River (Uyu Chaung in Burmese), is a river in northern Myanmar, formerly Burma. It is a major tributary of the Chindwin River, itself the largest tributary of the country's chief river, the Ayeyarwady. Its source lies in the Hukawng Valley of Kachin State, and it takes a southwesterly course through a fertile and well irrigated valley. It enters the Chindwin on the left bank at Homalin in Sagaing Division.[1][2]


Hpakant, situated in the headwaters of the Uyu, is the only place in the world[failed verification] where the best quality jade known as jadeite is mined.[3][4] Sand and stones deposited from the jade mines have impeded the flow during the monsoons and caused flooding with damage to the roads.[5] 'Gold boats' that mine the riverbed for precious metals began to appear in the 1990s along the 215 km stretch of the Uyu from Haungpa to Homalin. A cleanup plan by a government-appointed special environment committee started in May 2004 with a ban on gold digging, and the jade miners were made responsible for the rehabilitation of a 26 km stretch out of the badly damaged 40 km of the river between Lonkin and Haungpa.[6]

Flora and fauna[edit]

The area is covered with primarily tropical evergreen forest, dense bamboo and rattan undergrowth. Mixed deciduous teak forest is also seen on higher slopes. Htamanthi Wildlife Sanctuary for the tiger and the rhinoceros is located between the Uyu and the Chindwin.[7] [8][9]

The Uyu River is an important conservation area for the green peafowl (Pavo muticus), the spot-billed pelican (Pelecanus philippensis) and the white-rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis).[10]

World War II[edit]

In May 1942 after the Japanese invaded Burma, the US Army General Uncle Joe Stilwell led his staff of 103 Americans, British and Chinese on foot setting out from Shwebo to India. He carried bully beef to his raft across the Uyu River, pictured wearing his underwear and campaign hat.[11] They were joined by Gordon Seagrave of Burma Surgeon fame and his team of Burmese nurses on their journey down the Uyu on rafts reaching Maingkaing in two days and Homalin after another three days of rafting.[12][13]


  1. ^ "Chindwin River". Encyclopædia Britannica online. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
  2. ^ Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary. Merriam-Webster 1997. 1997. ISBN 978-0-87779-546-9. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
  3. ^ "Hpakan Other Rock Mine(Myanmar)". Retrieved 2008-12-27.
  4. ^ Richard W. Hughes & Fred Ward. "Heaven and Hell: The Quest for Jade in Upper Burma". Retrieved 2008-12-27.
  5. ^ Aye Lae. "Areas of Kachin State Hit by Flooding". The Irrawaddy August 8, 2007. Archived from the original on September 27, 2008. Retrieved December 27, 2008.
  6. ^ Ba Saing. "Cleanup work begins on long-abused river". Myanmar Times August 9–15, 2004. Archived from the original on 2007-08-22. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
  7. ^ "National Tiger Action Plan for The Union of Myanmar" (PDF). Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2005-12-15. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
  8. ^ Sein Tu. "The Tamanthi Wild-life Sanctuary". Perspective June 2002. Archived from the original on 2004-07-12. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
  9. ^ Rabinowitz, A.; Saw Tun Khaing. "Status of selected mammal species in North Myanmar". The Rhino Resource Center. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
  10. ^ "Uyu River(Important Bird Areas of Myanmar)". BirdLife International. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
  11. ^ "Flight from Burma - Stilwell leads way through jungle to India". Life August 10, 1942. Archived from the original on 2011-07-23. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
  12. ^ Alan K. Lathrop. "Dateline: Burma". Dartmouth Medicine. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
  13. ^ Col. Paul L. Jones. "The Withdrawal from Burma and the Stilwell Walkout". Ex-CBI Roundup May 1992. Archived from the original on 2008-10-05. Retrieved 2008-12-27.

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