Myanmar

Myanmar: Emergency shelter cluster bi-weekly situation report, 14 Nov 2008

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Situation Report
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Overall Situation

- With increasing amounts of data from the Delta it is clear that shelter is a high and urgent priority.

- More than 250,000 families in the Delta and the heavily affected parts of the Yangon division are still living in makeshift shelters, often put together from debris and inferior materials. But even bamboo houses, even though this was the housing type for a majority of people in the Delta before Nargis, are now often of poorer quality.

- Only one third of the families consider their present shelters to be safe and secure.

- The majority of families expects to have no funds to upgrade their shelters or even do minor repairs before the next monsoon.

- A weather window (dry season) means that we have until April to make significant impact on shelter upgrading and construction. Full advantage must be taken of the coming 6 months or else there is a serious risk of a second humanitarian crisis when the wet season arrives in April 2009.

Overall Achievements and Future Planning

- Over 700,000 plastic sheets distributed by the cluster, covering 71% of the estimate affected households. 117,643 tool kits have also been distributed, along with 494,851 blankets, 953,862 mosquito nets, 480,575 jerry cans and 235,697 kitchen sets. Shelter organisations continue to provide some NFIs but these activities are being wound down.

- IOM and the Cluster is about to publish the new Shelter Needs Assessment. Initial findings are in the previous section.

- New activities currently being set up will mainly focus on the distribution of building materials, the construction of a limited number of housing units and some training to owners and artisans.

- More rapid shelter interventions to help prepare for the new monsoon are being prepared, focusing on shelter strengthening and roof repairs.

Challenges

- There are less than 10 significant agencies/INGOs in the delta to support shelter construction and this is spreading their efforts extremely thin.

- Agencies are planning to leave Myanmar by December due to lack of funding and they are already losing specialist technical staff.

- There are local NGO/CBOs but capacity is very limited. Self-recovery is stuck as people cannot prioritise shelter expenditures with the very limited cash they hold, local thatch and bamboo need to time to grow and income earning opportunities for casual labour are depressed.

- The Delta is an extremely challenging environment and the total lack of roads means that all construction of shelter will be more expensive and take time.

Coordination

- The Shelter Cluster has advocated assistance to overcome the appalling emergency shelter conditions in the past month.

- Support for coordination and information management at the various hubs is being strengthened by regular visits from Yangon staff - to ensure two way information flow and follow-up.

- The Cluster is producing the sector input to Ponrepp, focusing on shelter itself, but also on issues of land and tenure, resettlement and cyclone sheltering. Shelter support requires rapid and focused support in 2009 and community based programming, linked to livelihoods and DRR throughout until the end of 2011. The other issues require setting minimum expectations of recovery, establishing monitoring and accountability initatives, and introducing good practices.

Funding

- There is an urgent need for a 'humanitarian plus' and early recovery response to shelter provision. $20mn is urgently required in the next six months.