The Union of Myanmar is exposed to multiple natural hazards including cyclone, earthquake, floods and fire. It has been periodically hit by natural disasters. Recent major disasters are as follows:
• Cyclone Nargis, 2008 which led to the loss of 84,537 human lives, 53,836 persons missing and damage to property to the tune of approximately 4.1 billion USD1, • Cyclone Mala, 2006 led to loss of 37 lives • Indian Ocean Tsunami, 2004 claimed 61 lives and • Taungdwingyi Earthquake (M: 6.8 RS), 2003 led to loss of 7 lives
Fire is the most frequent disaster in Myanmar and accounts for 71 percent of the disasters within the country. Storms and Floods account for 11 percent and 10 percent of the disasters respectively while other disasters including earthquake, landslide, etc accounts for 8 percent of the disasters.
Considering the multi-hazard proneness, it is important to profile the hazards of Myanmar as it will help in identification and prioritisation of future disaster preparedness and mitigation interventions.
The Post-Nargis Joint Assessment Report [PONJA] was prepared by the Tripartite Core Group (TCG) comprising the Government of the Union of Myanmar, the United Nations, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to determine the full scale of the impact of the cyclone and requirements for both immediate humanitarian assistance needs and medium to longer term recovery, in the aftermath of the cyclone Nargis 2008. It identified five main pillars namely (a) Risk identification and assessment (b) Strengthening and enhancing emergency preparedness (c) Institutional capacity building (d) Risk mitigation investments and (e) Risk financing and transfer mechanisms along which disaster risk reduction activities can be aligned in Myanmar. Also, the Hyogo Framework for Action [HFA] Priority II ‘ Know the Risks and Take Action’ emphasises that to reduce vulnerability to natural disasters, countries and communities must know the risks they face and take action based on that knowledge.
The ‘Hazard Profile of Myanmar’ report includes nine frequent hazards of Myanmar using existing information, studies and research on occurrence, causes, impacts, distribution and direction of future studies. The report has been prepared by a team comprising five Government Ministries and Departments and four non-Government Agencies.