Six months after the Myanmar floods, hundreds of thousands assisted as Red Cross continues to support affected communities

Published: 29 January 2016

Yangon – January 29 2016 - Six months on from the devastating floods that struck Myanmar, around 400,000 people have received emergency assistance and support in their recovery from the Myanmar Red Cross Society and its partners in the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

At their peak the floods affected over 9 million people across 12 of Myanmar’s 14 states and regions. The floods temporarily displaced over 1.7 million people and destroyed 15,000 homes as well as more than 840,000 acres of agricultural crops.

Between July 2015 and January 2016, over 1,400 Red Cross volunteers and staff from the Myanmar Red Cross Society and Red Cross partners assisted flood affected people across the country. The first phase included evacuations, providing emergency relief such as purified water, food, household items, and shelter materials. Since then, efforts have been focused on supporting the longer term recovery of flood affected communities across the five worst hit regions of Chin, Rakhine, Sagaing, Magway and Ayerwady with livelihood activities, cleaning of contaminated ponds and wells and infrastructure rehabilitation.

Cash assistance has been one of the main pillars in the Red Cross operation. 60,000 people have received cash grants from the Red Cross. Myanmar Red Cross and International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) focused their help in Sagaing, Magway, Ayerwady, Chin while Myanmar Red Cross, in close collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), distributed cash grants in Rakhine.

“This is the first time we have distributed cash grants on such a large-scale as part of our response to a natural disaster in Myanmar”, said Professor Tha Hla Shwe, President of the Myanmar Red Cross Society. “Our aim is to support self-recovery as quickly as possible and cash gives people the choice to prioritize their needs which could be repairs to their home, stock for a small business or household items.”

The floods had long term health impacts. 285 health structures were damaged and water sources were contaminated, increasing the threat of waterborne and vector borne diseases such as dengue and malaria. Both are endemic in Myanmar and contribute to the high mortality rates of children in rural areas of the country. The Red Cross is committed to strengthening community and village health structures and systems, including training volunteers in First Aid and providing health education to ensure that communities are better prepared for accidents and potential health threats.

“Myanmar is one the most disaster prone countries in the Asia Pacific region,” said Professor Tha Hla Shwe. “An important part of our recovery plan is focused on disaster risk reduction initiatives which directly involve the participation of hazard-prone communities, helping them to become more resilient to future crises. They range from training local volunteers to strengthening early warning systems, pre-positioning relief supplies and carrying out small-scale infrastructure projects that improve flood defences.”

The Red Cross operation is scheduled to continue until August 2016, targeting affected communities with livelihoods support, shelter assistance, improved access to clean water and sanitation and health education. The operation is supported by the IFRC, the ICRC and sister Red Cross and Red Crescent national societies.

For further information, please contact:

In Yangon:

 

  • Shwe Cin Myint,  Director, Humanitarian Values & Communication Department, Myanmar Red Cross Society

Email: shwecinmyint@redcross.org.mm

Mobile: +95 (0) 98553284, 9977115600

  • Mandy George, community engagement adviser, IFRC

Email: amanda.george@ifrc.org Mobile: +95 (0) 9254656372

Twitter : @mandygeorge

 

  • Jean-Yves Clémenzo, communication coordinator, ICRC

E-mail: jclemenzo@icrc.org Tel: +95 9420107606

Twitter: @JClemenzoICRC

 

In Geneva :

  • Reeni Amin Chua, IFRC Geneva.

Email: reeni.aminchua@ifrc.org Mobile: +41 79 708 6273    Twitter: @reeniac

 

  • Neha Thakkar, ICRC Geneva

Email: nthakkar@icrc.org Mobile: +41 79 574 0636 Twitter: @NThakkarICRC

Follow @IFRCAsiaPacific on Twitter for news and information on IFRC operations in the Asia Pacific region.

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