Myanmar: Support to people affected by monsoon floods

Aid agencies provide reilef in a camp for internally displaced people before the monsoon season. Many IDP camps were set-up on paddy fields which are prone to flooding in the rainy season. Photo: Evangelos Petratos EU/ECHO, CC-NC-ND (archive photo)
Aid agencies provide reilef in a camp for internally displaced people before the monsoon season. Many IDP camps were set-up on paddy fields which are prone to flooding in the rainy season. Photo: Evangelos Petratos EU/ECHO, CC-NC-ND (archive photo)

“Massive devastation”

SITTWE, Myanmar/ GENEVA, 5 August 2015 (LWI) – The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Country program in Myanmar has formed an emergency response team to support the people affected by the monsoon floods in Rakhine state. “The devastation caused by the flood in Rakhine State is massive”, LWF staff Bhoj Raj Khanal says. “We have formed emergency response teams in Yangon and Sittwe. Four states within the Republic of the Union of Myanmar have been declared emergency areas.”

Exceptionally heavy seasonal rains at the end of June and throughout July have caused flooding in Rakhine State, Chin State, Sagaing Region, Magway Region and other parts of the country. As of 3 August, the Relief and Resettlement Department (RRD) of the Myanmar Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement reported that over 200,000 people have been affected and 39 people have been killed across the flooded regions. These figures are expected to rise in the coming days as the full extent of the damage becomes visible.

Core relief items

LWF Myanmar has formed an emergency team and started to hand out core relief items, blankets and school books. LWF Myanmar has been asked by UNHCR to assist with distributing more core relief items in Rakhine state.

“Immediate needs include food, shelter, water and sanitation, as well as access to emergency healthcare”, LWF Humanitarian Coordinator Roland Schlott says. In the medium term, education and livelihoods will face additional challenges as farmland has been flooded and schools have been destroyed by the water.

LWF has been working in Myanmar since 2008. Coordinated from the country office in Yangon and the field office in Sittwe, Rakhine state, main activities have been emergency response, livelihood and food security, water, sanitation and hygiene, disaster risk reduction, and human rights advocacy. Community-based field staff helps improve community organization, health, education, agriculture and climate change adaptation. 

Disaster overwhelms government structures

“The members of the Myanmar ACT Forum have issued an alert today”, LWF Humanitarian Coordinator Schlott says. “It is clear is that the scale of the disaster surpasses the ability of the government structures to respond, especially since the affected areas have previously been affected by civil conflict or decades of underdevelopment.”

The LWF will use available stocks of non-food items such as blankets, hygiene kits, cooking utensils and shelter materials to help the disaster affected people, Schlott says. However, to meet the immense needs of the people affected would “require the mobilization of significant resources”, he adds.

“We welcome any donation large or small to support our relief efforts in Myanmar.”

 

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Read the ACT Alliance alert