1 100 000 people affected by floods in Myanmar. People in Need provided 1 000 000 CZK for relief aid
Prague, Yangon (August 12th, 2015) – Myanmar has been hit by disastrous floods. More than 1 100 000 people are affected in almost all regions of the country. More than 240 000 families had to leave their homes, more than 15 000 houses were destroyed. The floods caused more than 100 deaths and also destroyed the rice harvest in large areas. The worst floods in decades were caused by the typhoon Komen, which was followed by strong winds and torrential downpours, worsening the usual monsoon floods. People in Need released 1 000 000 CZK from its humanitarian fund Club of Friends for immediate aid, dispatched a coordinator and started to work with local partner NGOs, who will distribute the aid.
The floods has affected 12 our of 14 federal states of Myanmar. According to local authorities, more than 17 000 000 million people live in those areas. “People are in acute need of water, food, building materials, medical aid, but also psychosocial help for vulnerable groups such as women and children,” says Tereza Grunvaldova, director of People in Need’s mission in Myanmar. Many areas have not yet been reached by the rescue teams. “There are indications that the prices of food in remote areas are rising, which is further worsening the situation of affected people,” describes Grunvaldova.
Three local NGOs will distribute food and water
People in Need (PIN) will provide cash grants for three local NGOs, who work in the afflicted areas. “Organizations will use this support mostly for distribution of basic foodstuffs, water and hygiene kits for the most vulnerable people,” says Monika Kolomaznikova, PIN’s humanitarian aid coordinator in Myanmar. Another priority is prevention of disease transmission, which is also a serious issue during the floods.
People in Need also wants to share its experience from many relief interventions during floods in the Czech Republic. “It will be very hard to recuperate after this disaster. Assisstence during livelihood recovery and reconstruction of houses will have to be provided not only by the government of Myanmar, but also by the international community,” says U Mg Thein Phay from the Rakhita organization, which is working in the most seriously afflicted state of Rakhine.
15 000 destroyed houses and a massive loss of livelihoods
One of the most pressing issues is the lack of clean water, because lot of water sources was contaminated. According to the UN, more than 435 000 people urgently need food. However, from the long-time perspective, the destruction of thousands of square kilometers of arable land is more serious issue. “Many people lost their entire harvest and their only source of income,” says Tereza Grunvaldova.
Another issue is the destruction of more than 15 000 houses. “People are sheltering in monasteries, schools or evacuation centers. When the water recedes, they go back home. They often find only ruins and their possessions buried in mud,” says Grunvaldova. Thousands of children cannot attend classes, because more than 1200 schools had to be closed.
The floods are not ending yet. “There is a forecast for continuous rain in the next few days. The flood wave is moving to the low-lying delta of the Irrawady river and people are already running to higher ground,” adds Grunvaldova.
The current reaction of the government of Myanmar cannot be compared to the response after the deadly typhoon Nargis in 2008. “Back then, the government waited for three weeks before allowing the international NGOs to go in and provide aid, and even then continued with restrictions,” describes Grunvaldova and adds that this time, the government quickly provided ships, airplanes and helicopters for the relief efforts.
People in Need in Myanmar
People in Need works in Myanmar since 1997. The main areas of activities are civil society support, protection of children and support of inter-faith dialogue. Together with its partners, People in Need provided aid after the Nargis typhoon in 2008 in the Irrawady delta. More than 25 000 000 CZK in aid were delivered, half of it thanks to the donations from Czech public.
For more information, please contact:
Tereza Grünvaldová, Head of Mission PIN Myanmar, +95(0) 9 4211 48623, Tereza.Grunvaldova@clovekvtisni.cz
Monika Kolomazníková, coordinator of humanitarian aid in Myanmar, +95 (0)9 2605 62844, Monika.Kolomaznikova@clovekvtisni.cz
Michaela Kupková, Desk Officer PIN Myanmar, +420 734 435 455, Michaela.Kupkova@clovekvtisni.cz