Myanmar: Cyclone Nargis OCHA Situation Report No. 6

Situation Report
Originally published
This situation report is based on information received from the UN Resident Coordinator's Office, Myanmar, UN agencies, UNDAC, regional humanitarian partners and media sources.


1. Cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar on 2 and 3 May 2008, making landfall in the Ayeyarwady Division and directly hitting the country's largest city, Yangon. 40 townships in Yangon Division and 7 townships in Ayeyarwady Division remain on the Government's list of disaster areas.

2. Assessments have now been made in 38 townships, with response efforts ongoing in a further 28. Teams have reported major damage in affected areas, particularly in the low-lying delta region, where the Cyclone's impact was compounded by a storm surge. The official death toll is now 22,997, with 42,119 missing and 1,430 injured. Unofficial estimates are considerably higher. Based on the original Government estimate of 975,858 persons affected three days after the disaster in the eight most seriously hit townships, the UN now estimates that at least 1,500,000 people are severely affected.

3. Critical needs identified include food, water purification supplies and receptacles, sanitation facilities for temporary shelter camps, roofing and construction materials, fuel, and essential medicines and treatment. People are now migrating outwards from the most affected areas in search of basic necessities. Others are stranded in areas of the delta without drinking water, food or shelter. Damaged infrastructure and communications, as well as flooding, pose challenges for relief efforts, which may be exacerbated by heavy rainfall that has been forecast over the next seven days (see annexed map).

4. Flights carrying relief items have been getting in to the country, and the Government and humanitarian partners are reaching an increasing number of affected persons. However, the issue of access for international humanitarian personnel remains unresolved.


5. The UN Country Team reports significant progress in clearing roadways, and the piped water supply has been partially restored to some parts of Yangon city. Helicopter relays of bilateral aid arriving at Yangon are being made to Pathein, and two large barges have left Yangon for the worst-affected areas. Airlifts of international bilateral aid have been received from countries in the region. MRCS has been a central part of the national response, working both as an auxiliary to the Government's efforts, carrying out assessments and distributing relief items with and on behalf of the Humanitarian Country Team.


6. The UN continues to consult closely with the Government about the need for international support, which is available across all key priority areas. Very few visas have been forthcoming in recent days. Media reported a statement by the Foreign Ministry today saying that 'Myanmar is not ready to receive search and rescue teams as well as media teams from foreign countries.'

7. The Flash Appeal has been launched today at 13:30 in New York by USG for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes. In the Appeal, humanitarian organizations ask for US$ 187 million for emergency relief in Myanmar. During the launch, member states announced US$ 58.4 million in pledges for the Flash Appeal and bilateral aid to the Myanmar government. The USG pledged a funding window of US$ 20 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for the Flash Appeal. The document can be downloaded under:$FILE/Flash_20 08_Myanmar_SCREEN.pdf?OpenElement

8. The activated clusters and the funds requested in the Flash Appeal are the following:

Requirements specified in Flash Appeal ($US)
Grand Total

9. During the Flash Appeal launch, the Permanent Representative, on behalf of his government, has announced that Myanmar will accept international help and cooperate with the international community. A US C-130 plane carrying relief items has been cleared by Myanmar and is scheduled to arrive in the country on Monday, 12 May.

10. An UNDAC team is now present in Myanmar and is working with the office of RC/HC a.i. to strengthen cluster coordination and information-sharing both inside Myanmar, and between the Humanitarian Country Team and the broader international community. An OSOCC has been set up and the UNDAC team is working closely with the Myanmar Information Management Unit (contact details are below).

Coordinated In-Country Response


11. As of 12:00, 9 May, WFP had distributed a total of 183 MT of food (179 MT rice and 4 MT high energy biscuits (HEB)). As of Friday afternoon, it planned to airlift a total 45MT of HEB within 2 weeks for distribution. 7MT arrived and cleared by customs on 8th May. 4MT has been delivered and distributed to children in Labutta today, with the remainder to be channelled through MSF-Switzerland. Another 20MT of HEB arrived in this morning. Clearance for onward transportation is ongoing. Once this is complete, supplies will be available partners in areas with food shortages.

12. 20MT of rice arrived to Labutta in the morning of 9 May. Distribution got underway at 13:00. Another truck with 5MT of rice left Yangon on the morning of 9th May, and is expected to reach the town within the same day.

13. WFP is in the process of establishing sub-offices in Labutta, Bogale and Mawlamyinegyun. An office building has been identified in Labutta (to be shared with other agencies). Two temporary warehouses have arrived and are being erected today (capacity of 400 MT; one for food, the other for non-food items for other agencies).

14. Action Contre la Faim (ACF) sent 7 MT of rice yesterday to Bogale, and a further 14 MT today, as well as 4 MT of watsan equipment. It is seeking authorisation to send 14 MT daily.

15. Food is also available for purchase around Pathein, to the north of the most affected areas.


16. WFP, UNICEF, the Health Ministry's National Nutrition Centre and partners are carrying out nutrition surveys. Helen Keller International is providing measuring equipment within the next three weeks.

17. Food is available for sale near the affected areas. Cash distribution could be an alternative to food distribution.


18. A WFP flight carrying 7 MT of high energy biscuits arrived yesterday, as well as a flight from Brindisi funded by the Italian Government. A third flight with WFP and WHO cargo arrived from Dubai at 07:30 this morning (9 May). A flight yesterday from Bangkok to Yangon via Dhaka was forced return to Bangkok due to extreme weather conditions. Deliveries that arrived today have not been cleared by the authorities and are being held until the issue is resolved.

19. The Logistics Cluster concept of operations, covering plans for movement of cargo and final distribution locations, is being finalised and will be presented to regional cluster members tomorrow. The Cluster Lead has drawn up a Special Operation some of which is built-in to the logistics portion of the Flash Appeal. It provides for inter-agency logistics support and common ICT services. Logistics capacity in-country has been bolstered by the recruitment of two ex-military officers who are acting as a liaison with the Myanmar Armed Forces.

20. Fuel supplies have been flagged as a concern, though shortfalls in supply have been caused by a lack of electricity to pump fuel from tanks rather than from shortages. An element of the logistics Special Operation deals specifically with fuel.

21. DHL is on standby to deploy its Disaster Response Team as part of the Logistics Cluster. One DHL staff member has joined the UNDAC team in Yangon.

Emergency Telecommunications

22. WFP has confirmed at the regional level that the telecommunications portion of the Flash Appeal is intended to provide for the ICT requirements of the entire humanitarian community in-country.


23. Lack of fresh drinking water major problem in the delta. People are stranded in without fresh drinking water and without food or shelter.

24. UNICEF has requested technical support from the regional level to deal with salinity of water sources in the delta, and is working with Norwegian Church Aid and the Ministry of Social Welfare to move materials for mobile water treatment plants into the country.

25. UNICEF had 3,000,000 water purification tablets arriving earlier today. PSI has distributed 3,600 litres of WaterGuard purification liquid (enough for 3.72 million letres of drinking water). Production is ongoing.


26. Preparations for assessments are ongoing. Assessments are due to get underway tomorrow (10 May).


27. A health surveillance system is coming into effect, with reports and information now coming back from the field. There is currently no information on disease outbreaks.

28. 8 emergency medical kits have arrived from Dubai. WHO, UNICEF and WFP are working together with other partners on a distribution system.

29. WHO, UNICEF and IFRC are collaborating on the management of dead bodies, and have been distributing masks, gloves (from in-country pandemic influenza stocks).

30. The question of whether NGOs can operate in areas other than those in which they already have permission to operate has been raised with line ministries, but is yet to be resolved. National staff members of INGOs have been able to travel freely, but the situation for international staff is not yet clear. There have been unverified reports that such travel may be possible where internationals are accompanied by MRCS.

31. Supplies to treat injuries and tetanus have been sent to Labutta and Bogale, on the request of WHO/Ministry of Health teams in these townships.

32. WHO is in discussion with the Director General of the Health Ministry on coordination and information-sharing meetings.

33. WHO has an epidemiologist and a health cluster coordinator and a medical logistician on standby in Bangkok. Thai forensic experts are also on standby.


34. The Humanitarian Country Team has confirmed that UNICEF and Save the Children will co-lead the education cluster. Save the Children continues to receive assessments of damage to schools and is anticipating estimates in terms of loss of teachers. It is estimated that 75% of schools in the seven severely affected townships have collapsed, while the remaining 25% have lost their roofs.

35. UNICEF is ready to support 100,000 children with essential learning package when school starts on June 1st.


36. A UNHCR flight carrying shelter kits was due to land today (9 May).

37. 600 shelter boxes have arrived. Each includes a tent, cooker and blankets for a family of 10. 500 have been handed over to the fire brigade.

38. Recurrent reports are emerging from Labutta that people are being forcibly moved to Myaungmya Township, to the north (9,000 persons yesterday, 2,000 today).

Protection of Children and Women

39. UNICEF reports that child protection is a major concern in all areas. The protection of separated children has been identified as a priority issue and Save the Children is using child protection kits to run child friendly spaces in an expanding number of locations in Yangon Division. A Save the Children Child Protection Officer arrives in Bangkok today (9 May).

Early recovery

40. No Updates

Updates from individual agencies

41. IFRC now reports that consignments of jerry cans, tarpaulins and mosquito nets are being flown in from Kuala Lumpur to be handed over to the MRCS on a regular basis. IFRC experts have been arriving in the country (3 FACT today, with 2 RDRT due in the afternoon, and a further 3 RDRT due on Saturday or Sunday). In total a FACT team of 16 with a range of expertise is ready assemble in country.

42. UNICEF has continued to extend the coverage of rapid assessments in affected areas, jointly with MRCS. Two trucks have been arranged for MRCS to assist their logistics. Assessments are now taking place in 21 of 47 affected townships in Yangon and Ayeyar Divisions. Visits to township hospitals have been scaled up, and teams are also assessing the situation in temporary relief camps.

43. The Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit (JEU), in collaboration with the Swedish authorities, has made available waste management experts who are in a position to provide remote support to national authorities, on managing acute waste and debris issues that could pose immediate and longer-term risks to water quality, human health and livelihoods. An environmental expert representing the Swedish Rescue Services Agency (SRSA) has arrived in Bangkok following a request made by the JEU. The JEU also has a number of environmental emergency experts on standby for deployment.

44. UNFPA national staff are working with the Ministry of Health and are preparing 5,000 dignity kits for distribution. Various reproductive health kits have already been distributed in Yangon.

45. UNDP is the only agency that has working infrastructure in some of the most severely affected townships. It has sent rotating teams of national staff to work with and relieve its field staff in four of the affected townships - Bogalay, Kyaiklat, Labutta and Mawlamyinegyun- where its Microfinance and Integrated Community Development Projects operate. The teams are making assessments of the disaster, delivering small relief items and providing support to the populations UNDP serves.

46. An IRC Emergency Officer arrived in Yangon today. IRC hopes to start up projects in WASH, Health and Shelter. The Emergency Officer is working with national staff members to recruit additional staff and to apply for registration of IRC programmes in Myanmar.

47. Save the Children (SCUK) have redeployed staff from non-affected areas to bolster capacity in Yangon and the delta. They reached an additional 25,000 beneficiaries yesterday, bring the organisation's total coverage to an estimated 63,000 people across four townships in Rangoon (Shwepyithar, Thingangkuun, Insein and North Okkalapa). They estimate that 21,000 of these beneficiaries are under 12 years of age. They are assisting with the repair of a HIV centre in Yangon, and are providing clean water, food and essential medicines to 69 girls and young women in the centre.

48. SCUK supply trucks have reached Pathein (their operations base in the western delta region), and are currently in talks with local authorities to distribute in Haing Gyi (pre-emergency population of 92,707) on the south-western tip of the delta region, as well as Ngapudaw (pre-emergency population of 335,986 with 30% directly affected by the storm itself and reports of a collapsed hospital). It is hoped that a boat to the area will depart tomorrow. SC has been able to purchase goods in Pathein, but will require significant additional supplies soon.

49. SC and Care International are working together to stock a plane in Bangkok with family kits for 100,000 people, and with SC USA to fly health kits and household kits from Sumatra.

Update on Security Situation

50. MSF-Holland reported that it transported 70 MT of rice to Pathein and then onwards into the delta without incident, and that the military was generally supportive once they knew the purpose. Nonetheless, the security is a concern in most affected areas. The UN is still in Phase 1, and no change to this is foreseen

Update on Financial Pledges

51. Please see annex 1 for financial pledges recorded in Bangkok to date. For updated information on financial contributions, please refer to the OCHA Financial Tracking System website: Donors are encouraged to verify contributions and inform OCHA Financial Tracking System (FTS) of corrections/additions/values to this table. The direct email address is:

For more information please contact:

United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination Team

Dr. Jemilah Mahmood
Tel. Tel. +95 (0)1 542910, +95 (0)1 542917,
+95 (0)1 544187, Ext. 107

Contact for local media inquiries:

United Nations Information Centres
Mr. Aye Win
Tel. +95 (0)1 577057
Tel. (cell) +95 (0)9 5123 952

International relief focal point:

Mr. Winston Chang
Tel. +4179 469 8588

OCHA Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Mr. Norwin Schafferer
Tel. +66 81174 8335

OCHA Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Mr. Sebastian Rhodes Stampa
Tel. +66 89204 2721

Asia and Pacific Desk

Agnes Asekenye-Oonyu
Mob: +1 917 476 6164
Tel: 212-963-1773

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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