Myanmar: Cyclone Rakhine Appeal No. 14/2004 Operations Update No. 1

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In Brief

Appeal No. 14/04; Operations Update no. 1; Period covered: 4 June to 30 June 2004; Appeal coverage: 86%.

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Appeal history:

  • Launched on 4 June 2004 for CHF 201,000 (USD 163,770 or EUR 134,204) for 3 months to assist 14,000 beneficiaries.
  • Appeal budget has now been revised - and doubled - to CHF 414,000 for 25,000 beneficiaries, with an unchanged time frame of 3 months; Final Report is therefore due on 30 November 2004.
  • Disaster Relief Emergency Funds (DREF) allocated: N/A
Outstanding needs: CHF 60,000 (USD 48,592 or EUR 39,532)

Related Emergency or Annual Appeals: Myanmar Annual Appeal 2004 (Appeal no. 01.65/2004); Southeast Asia Regional Appeal 2004 (Appeal no. 01.66/2004)

Operational Summary: The Myanmar Red Cross Society, along with the local authorities, was the first organisation to respond to the cyclone and to provide assistance to many of those most affected, and has been continuing its response operations. Pledges in cash and kind have been received from the following: British Red Cross, Chinese Red Cross, Danish Red Cross, Japanese Red Cross, Monaco Red Cross, Norwegian Red Cross, Spanish Red Cross, Swedish Red Cross and local donors. A joint assessment by the Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) and Federation confirmed the number of targeted beneficia ries has increased to 25,000, and support has been extended to one more township, Min Byar, in which vulnerabilities have seriously increased at the time of reporting. Owing to these increased needs, as well as the generous response from donors, the appeal budget has been revised to double that of the original.


Rakhine is a sparsely populated state, with 2.7 million people, covering 14,200 square miles. Sittwe, the state capital, is the biggest city. The Rakhine people generally depend on fishing, prawn breeding, farming, and salt production for a livelihood.

A cyclone hit the southwestern coastal state of Rakhine on 19 May. The storm, reportedly the worst to hit the area since 1968, had winds of up to 160kph and came from the Bay of Bengal into the area near Myanmar's eastern border with Bangladesh. The Relief and Resettlement Department, Social Welfare Ministry and Fire Services Department together compiled an initial report on the disaster. It reported that the tidal surges and flooding following the storm had made more than 18,000 people homeless in the coastal townships of Sittwe, Myae Bon, Pauk Taw, Myauk Oo, Ponnar Kyun, Min Byar, Kyauk Phyu, Ann and numerous islands off the coast. The government made a rare request for international assistance on 28 May.

Operational Developments

Following a joint assessment of the Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) and the Federation, it is confirmed that the number of affected people has significantly increased from the initial report. The official number of households affected has increased from 2,855 to 4,628, leaving approximately 25,000 people affected. The local authorities reported damage to houses, departmental and religious buildings, schools, dams of the Irrigation Department, embankments of farmers, prawn breeding ponds and sinking of motor boats and rowing boats.

Damages and costs caused by the cyclone

Estimated costs in Kyat
Estimated costs
Loss of lives
Affected households
2441 lakh*
USD 270,000
Religious buildings
27.5 lakh
USD 3000
Governmental buildings
3746 lakh
USD 415,000

*Note: 1 lakh = 100,000


In Myanmar, the central government, through the Ministry of Relief and Resettlement, takes the lead role in emergency response coordination. The role of MRCS is complementary, as an auxiliary to this response. The National Disaster Relief Committee (consisting of various ministries) of which the state level Red Cross is one of the members was immediately set-up after the disaster.

The government's relief, resettlement and reconstruction period is expected to take from six to nine months. At the time of reporting, all evacuees have returned either to their own homes or to their friends and/or relatives.

Coordination is not a major challenge since the MRCS and the government agencies are the major actors. During the reporting period, the Myanmar Delegation has had numerous discussions and meetings with other agencies and organisations in sharing information as well as coordinating relief efforts. In addition, the local authorities have made all relevant information available to the MRCS.

At the start of the disaster, the local health department had immediately distributed water purification tablets and other medication to treat diarrhoea and malaria to control the usual waterborne diseases. The National Disaster Relief Committee has distributed 500 tonnes of cement and 50,000 roofing sheets, and to date has distributed immediate relief goods twice since the disaster. The immediate relief items covering around 4,205 families include the following items; male longyi (sarong), female longyi, blankets, aluminium pots and cotton sheets. Work is also underway on rebuilding schools in the affected areas. The World Food Programme (WFP) has contributed 200 tonnes of rice through the National Disaster Relief Committee and the distribution is anticipated to complete by mid July. The rice is rationed to last one month for around 4,000 families. Other United Nations (UN) agencies have contributed in cash and kind, reconstruction and rebuilding materials including blankets, tarpaulins, iron sheets, etc. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has contributed blankets, water filters, jerry cans and plastic sheets. Local donations include cash and kind.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In Myanmar:Myanmar Red Cross Society Dr Tun Sein, acting president, email :, Phone: + 951 383 681, Fax: 383 675

In Myanmar: Delegation contact, Uma Narayanan,acting head of delegation, Phone +951 383 686, 383682

In Bangkok : Dr. Ian Wilderspin, Head of Regional Disaster Management Unit, email:, Phone 66 2 640 8211, Ext. 422;Fax: 66 2 640 8220

In Geneva: Regional Department, Charles Evans/Sabine Feuglet, Southeast Asia Desk, email: or, Phone 41 22 730 4320/4456, Fax: 41 22 733 03 95

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for a full description of the national society profile, please access the Federation's website at

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