Myanmar: Cyclone Mala DREF Bulletin MDRMM001 Final Report

Situation Report
Originally published


The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in 185 countries.

In Brief

Period covered by this Final Report: 5 May to 30 November 2006. History of this Disaster Relief Emergency

Fund (DREF)-funded operation:

- CHF 50,000 allocated from the Federations DREF on 5 May 2006 to respond to the needs of this operation, or to replenish disaster preparedness stocks distributed to the affected population.

- This operation was expected to be implemented in three months, and completed by 31 July 2006. Operation was first extended to 31 October, and later further extended to 30 November 2006 because of complex procurement procedures and changes in MRCS's senior governance.

Background and Summary

Tropical Cyclone Mala formed in the Bay of Bengal on 24 April 2006 and gradually built in strength and size over a period of five days when it came ashore on the morning of 29 April. It made landfall on the western cost of Myanmar, between Rakhine state and Ayeyarwady division, and was rated at category four.

The affected areas included the sparse western coast line of Myanmar, the Ayeyarwady delta. Some localized storms related to the cyclone weather front caused damages to the Southern Ayearwady coast and Hlaingtharya township in Yangon. As Mala cyclone moved inland, its path crossed the townships of Gwa, Kyeintali and Hinthada, causing damage to infrastructure and crops. Torrential rain led to flash floods at the Hinthada District which drowned 18 people and resulted in 14 people missing. Most of the coastal region damages were caused by the heavy rainfall and strong winds.

The overall impact of cyclone Mala was limited because of effective early warning messages and the evacuation preparedness of those coastal region communities living in the cyclone's path. The sea level remained in normal variance of tidal levels. This also contributed to the comparatively small amount of damages and losses.

The main needs of those affected included temporary shelters, and the rebuilding and renovation of damaged houses and infrastructure. Red Cross relief distributions focused on distribution and support to local rebuilding efforts.


The disaster response committee was formed by Rakhine state authorities. Local Red Cross branches, both in township and state level were included in response coordination and planning. Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) headquarters deployed a disaster response and assessment team (DART) to assist in coordination at the affected area.

The Federation, United Nations and major international NGO's arranged a coordination meeting in Yangon to compare findings and plan further support for the response. Based on the meeting, MRCS, the Federation and United Nations Children's Education Fund (UNICEF) arranged to coordinate a follow up needs assessment that verified sectoral needs, and coordinated with the local authority in Gwa township.

Several local parties, including NGO's, government bodies and private citizens, contributed to the relief assistance in Gwa township. All these contributions were coordinated through the local response committee.

Analysis of the operation - achievements and impact

MRCS field structures (township groups) and authorities were alerted on the areas likely to be hit by the cyclone. Rapid assessments in the affected area were carried out by MRCS and Federation delegation staff. The Rakhine state disaster assessment and response team also assisted local Red Cross and authorities immediately after the cyclone. This assistance continued for a month with two teams consisting of volunteers from neighbouring districts and townships deployed to assist affected villages in rebuilding and the renovation of damaged infrastructure.

Rebuilding efforts were supported by MRCS' headquarters and Federation delegation staff. The team was originally planning to purchase thatch (locally used roofing materials) for distribution to those most in need.

However due to increased demand for thatch after the disaster, they were unavailable and support was given out in the form of cash to 1,000 of the most vulnerable families out of over 4,000 affected households. As the operation unfolded, it became clear that only 54 percent of the DREF amount was required to address the needs of recipient families. The balance was subsequently returned to DREF at the end of the operation timeframe.

According to interviews with beneficiaries, some parts of the population living in the area did not fully understand or realise the seriousness of the early warning. Based on these interviews, the MRCS disaster management division has noted that while awareness in early warning and its importance exists, it could be further improved. MRCS plans to develop a series of awareness raising materials for different disasters. These will be distributed throughout the country with an emphasis on communities most prone to disasters in an effort to mitigate the affects of future disasters in Myanmar.

The International Federation undertakes activities that are aligned with its Global Agenda, which sets out four broad goals to achieve the Federation's mission to "improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity".

Global Agenda Goals:

- Reduce the numbers of deaths, injuries and impact from disasters.

- Reduce the number of deaths, illnesses and impact from diseases and public health emergencies.

- Increase local community, civil society and Red Cross Red Crescent capacity to address the most urgent situations of vulnerability.

- Reduce intolerance, discrimination and social exclusion and promote respect for diversity and human dignity.

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's) in Disaster Relief and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (Sphere) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

For further information, please contact:

- Myanmar Red Cross Society: Dr. Hla Myint (president); email:; phone: +95.1.383.681; fax: +95.1.383.675

- Federation country delegation in Myanmar: Bridget Gardner, (head of delegation); e-mail:; phone: +95.1.383.686; fax: +95.1.383.682

- Federation Southeast Asia regional delegation in Thailand: Bekele Geleta (head of regional delegation);; phone: +66.2.661.8201; fax: +66.2.661.9322

- Federation Secretariat in Geneva (Asia Pacific department): Gert Venghaus (regional officer); email:; phone: +41.22.730.4258; fax: fax: +41.22.733.0395; or Sabine Feuglet (senior assistant); email:; Phone: +41.22.730. 4349; Fax: +41.22.733.0395