Joint Assessment on Earthquake in Shan State, Myanmar

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This report is the joint assessment done by ACTED, ADRA, CESVI, KMSS, Malteser, MHAA, MHDO, MIMU, MRCS, NAG, NCV, OCHA, SC, UNICEF, UNODC, WFP,and WV, and compiled with the support of CARE Myanmar

Executive Summary

An earthquake of 6.8 on the Richter scale hit the Southern part of Eastern Shan State on March 24, 2011. The event resulted in damages to private and public infrastructures and post-event psychological trauma to the affected communities. This rapid assessment was jointly conducted by various organizations in the worst-affected villages of Tarlay, Mong Lin (east) and Mong Lin (west) areas. The decision to concentrate in this area resulted from an initial assessment done by UNICEF, NCV and MRCS, on 28 and 29 March, which identified 90 out of 100 villages visited as the worst affected, with an estimated population of some 18,000 inhabitants. The rapid assessment was carried out on 30-31 March, with a single form utilized by all agencies. The report includes initial results from some 58 villages, with a population of 2,797 households, or 12,513 people, whilst collection of the other villages and areas North and West of the epicenter are still being collected and verified.

Shelter - The inter-agency assessment indicates that 44%of the 2,797 houses visited are either totally collapsed or uninhabitable (12% destroyed, 32% damaged). A more systematic and technical assessment of the damaged to private and public buildings is urgently required to identify the full extent of the damages to housing. It is to be noted that there is a significant portion of the population who still prefers to sleep under temporary shelter, in fear of further damages in the series of aftershocks that are still being felt in the area. Shelter has been identified as one of the priority areas for support, both in the immediate phase and in the reconstruction. Requests were made for weather proof temporary shelters, especially in view of the upcoming monsoon season, and provision of technical expertise not only for the rebuilding and repairing of houses but also to assess the status of the houses still standing, but whose owners and inhabitants are doubtful about their resistance to further possible shocks. Further priorities identified included awareness programmes on the earthquake and its aftermath. Infrastructure - Five health infrastructures in the area covered by the assessment have been damaged, including the Tarlay Station Hospital and one RHC at Mong Linn (severely) and other health centers which are still functioning. Other public infrastructures damaged include twelve bridges and roads, 26 schools, and 63 religious buildings.

Livelihood - Agricultural and livestock losses have been minimal, as this is not nor the harvesting nor the cultivating season. Some of the people interviewed reported that damaged to their farms and livestock, and others indicated that damage to the barns and rice milling machines impacted upon the rice producing and storage. Community from eight villages reported their shops damaged. According to the discussions with the communities, some said that they could not go to work because some were homeless, some were busy repairing their houses and some were afraid to go (mostly workers from rice mills).

Health - The rapid assessments does not suggest any alarming increase in rates of illness or diseases amongst the affected people. During the first few days, several diarrhea cases were reported in two villages, 48 of which were confirmed by the local health authorities, though none of them severe. In the visited villages, agencies found 10 cases of diarrhea, which is within expected range for the area and the season. The most commonly found health problem was Acute Respiratory Illnesses (ARI), especially amongst children, which was found amongst 183 people or 1.5% of the total assessed population of 12,513. The assessment teams also found that 130 people were suffering from trauma, while only 12 cases of clinically suspected malaria were found amongst the surveyed people. There is no cholera case reported. Many people cited feeling unwell more generally (dizziness, weakness, sleeplessness, headache) as a direct consequence of additional duress experienced since the earthquake. With the essential drugs provided by agencies and the health authorities, there are enough medical supplies to treat diarrhea, ARI and other illnesses over at least the coming three months.

Water and sanitation - In the affected area, most of the villages mainly use gravity fed sprine systems and dug wells. The earthquake damaged some water sources, and resulted in contamination of water as well as fluctuation in the ground water level. Communities reported that though most of the water sources previously used for drinking were not drinkable, some can be still used and some cannot. Spring water sources which were drinkable and used for other domestic purposes decreased from 77% of the surveyed villages to 45 % and dug wells from 54% to 18% after the earthquake.

The earthquake also destroyed 20% of brick latrines and 5% of indirect pit latrines within the 58 surveyed villages. The number of people practicing open defecation increased from 175 to 195 after the earthquake. According to secondary information, toilets and sanitation facilities in temporary camps were urgent needs. Food Security - About 72.8% of the households in surveyed villages had some food in storage (rice, bean, sesame, cooking oil). Among them, 97.5% of the families stored rice, and of these 59% said that their stocks of rice could last for more than two weeks. However, about one-third of the surveyed villages said that they decreased their amount of food consumption. According to the qualitative explorative findings, some of the affected villages complained about basic food supply, on the ground that even though they have grains in their barns, they could not mill them as the factories were destroyed or not operating. Moreover, some reported that they reduced food intake because of psychological trauma and stress from the earthquake.

Relief Items Supports and Services

Foods and drinking water relief interventions are the most common support received by the population, followed by shelter, health services, non-food items and psychological aid. Nearly two third of the surveyed villages reported receiving health care services through mobile clinics, hospitals services and private clinics. Major needs not yet addressed include repair and re-start of services from barns, water source, rice milling machines which were destroyed during the earthquake. It is understood that villages that were not reached by the survey teams may have received less assistance as they are more difficult to access.