Myanmar: Cyclone Mala DREF Bulletin MDRMM001 Update No. 2

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 over 185 countries.

In Brief

Period covered by this update: 31 July 2006 to 31 October 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 is expected to be implemented for three months, and will be completed by30 July 2006;

- Operations were first extended to 31 October 2006 in DREF Bulletin Update no.1 dated 6 September.

- As the procurement exercises for this disaster and for annual relief materials have delayed several planned activities.

- This Update (DREF Bulletin Update no. 2) further extends the operation to 30 November 2006 because of complex procurement procedures and changes in MRCS's senior governance.

- A DREF Bulletin Final Report will be made available three months after the end of the proposed extended operation, i.e. by 28 February 2007.

Background and current situation

Tropical cyclone Mala made landfall in the early hours of 29 April 2006, affecting coastal and in-land communities and townships along its path before fading away on 30 April. Ayeyarwady division and Rakhine state were the worst hit regions. Earlier in the evening of 28 April, localized storms hit Yangon Hlainhtharya township causing damage to industrial structures and houses in the surrounding suburbs. Approximately 12,000 families were affected by the cyclone and related torrential rainfall, local storms and the rise in sea level.

Many coastal townships had received information and warnings well in advance, which accounted for the low number of casualties. Despite the early warning, material losses were substantial, and the mainly wooden houses and huts were damaged.

In contrast, Kyangin township at Hinthada district did not receive any specially focused warning. As a result, 22 people drowned in flash floods that hit the township caused by heavy rainfall in the area.

Red Cross and Red Crescent action

Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) volunteers participated in early warning and evacuation activities along the coastal regions. They also assisted affected populations at evacuation centres and temporary accommodation in schools and monasteries. A total of 12,015 families were affected. Family packs containing non-food items were released to the most affected areas from regional warehouses in Pathein (Ayeyarwady) and Sittwe (Rakhine). Relief items were distributed to 3,485 families. In the worst hit township of Gwa, the main needs were roofing materials and these were transported and distributed from the Yangon and Sittwe warehouses.

Family sets consisted of non-food items (clothing, cooking utensils, soap, towels, plastic sheets, ropes, mosquito nets and blankets). The contents of family sets varied according to local needs and specific items that were available in regional warehouses.

A field assessment in areas affected by the cyclone is planned to take place from 6 to 8 November 2006. The objective is to assess the impact of relief and support distributions, and make recommendations for future action.

The MRCS is in the process of procuring items for the replenishment of relief materials, planning for DREF supported replenishment, as well as supporting national Red Cross preparedness. It was originally expected that these activities would take place during the month of September, but there has been additional delays as a result of complex procedures and recent changes in MRCS's senior governance, As such, the programme needs to be further extended to 30 November 2006. The final report would therefore be submitted on 28 February 2007.

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.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

Myanmar Red Cross Society: Dr. Hla Mynt (president); email mrcshs-ec@redcross.org.mm; Phone: +95.1.383.681; Fax: +95.1.383.675

Federation delegation in Myanmar: Bridget Gardner (head of delegation); e-mail: ifrcmm01@redcross.org.mm; Phone: +95.138.3686; Fax: +95.138.3682

Federation regional delegation in Bangkok: Bekele Geleta (head of regional delegation);email: bekele.geleta@ifrc.org; Phone: +66.2.640.8211; Fax: +66.2.640.8220

Federation secretariat in Geneva: Gert Venghaus (regional officer, Asia Pacific department); email:gert.venghaus@ifrc.org; Phone: +41.22.739.4958; Fax: +41.22.733.0395

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 longer-term programmes in this or other countries or regions, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for national society profiles, please also access the Federation's website at http://www.ifrc.org.