Myanmar: Humanitarian Update No. 2 on Monsoon Season Floods, 27 July 2017

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 27 Jul 2017

Situation Overview

Monsoon rains and increased water levels in major rivers have caused seasonal floods in Myanmar, primarily affecting Magway, Sagaing, Bago and Ayeyarwady regions and Mon State. Mandalay Region, Chin, Kayin, Rakhine and Shan states, as well as the Union Territory, are also affected by floods but with smaller-scale or no displacements reported at this stage. As of 25 July, the cumulative number of people who had been temporarily displaced/evacuated since the beginning of July in flood-affected states and regions was reported to be almost 140,000, according to the Government of Myanmar’s Relief and Resettlement Department (RRD) in Nay Pyi Taw. At least three people are reported to have died due to flooding. In some areas flood waters have receded and people have returned to their homes. As of 25 July, out of a total of 269 evacuation sites, 107 had been closed again, mainly in Sagaing, Mon, Rakhine and the Union Territory. In addition to those displaced/evacuated between 2 and 25 July, thousands more have been affected by flooding. People who are displaced are staying in monasteries, in temporary shelters or with host families or relatives.

Most severely affected states/regions (displacement figures as of 25 July)

Magway remains the most severely affected region with over 92,000 people reported to have been temporarily displaced across 12 townships, with Pokkoku, Yesagyo and Yenanchaung townships the worst affected, according to RRD. Flood waters in some of these townships are reported to be receding and people returning to their homes. However, the Magway regional RRD reports that many of those most severely affected live along the banks of the Ayayerwady River and may be displaced multiple times as flooding is likely to reoccur in these areas over the course of the monsoon season. Some families, who live in low lying areas, remain displaced as flooding continues to affect their homes. As of 25 July, a total of 55 evacuation sites in Magway remained open. In Sagaing Region, more than 23,000 people were temporarily displaced. However, all temporary evacuation sites in the region are now reported to have been closed and most of those displaced are reported to have returned to their homes after flood waters receded, according to RRD in Sagaing.

In Bago Region, over 10,000 people from eight townships have been temporarily displaced, while more than 6,700 people in nine townships in the Ayeyarwady Region are being accommodated in evacuation centres or staying with host families. In Mon State, some 5,000 people were displaced by floods over the past week but many have since been able to return to their homes. Floods also temporarily displaced over 1,100 people in Rakhine State and strong winds, heavy rain and swollen rivers have destroyed 75 houses and damaged another 120 homes in Mrauk-U, Minbya, Kyauktaw, Toungup and Ann townships since 24 July. Some of those displaced have since been able to return to their homes. In Mandalay Region, thousands of people affected by rising water levels have reportedly moved to safer locations on their own accord as a preventive measure.

Response

The Government of Myanmar is leading the flood response. RRD, in coordination with local authorities and different government departments, is responding to the immediate needs of displaced families by providing cash to purchase rice rations and distributing drinking water and relief items. Assistance is being provided in areas recently affected by floods, including Rakhine, Ayayerwady and Mon. The Union Minister of the Department of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Department visited Kyaikhto Township in Mon State on 23 July and provided immediate assistance to flood affected/displaced households, as well fiber boats and life jackets to the township authorities. RRD is also providing cash to repair and rebuild houses that were damaged or washed away. Meanwhile, RRD has pre-positioned emergency tarpaulins and water purification tablets in Ayeyarwady, Bago and Magway regions. The Myanmar Military is also providing assistance, including food, drinking water, warm clothes and blankets, mobile health clinics, as well as supporting flood preparedness measures, evacuations and clean up in a number of flood-affected areas. In collaboration with the Township Health Department, local authorities are organizing chlorination of water sources and pond cleaning/renovation in areas where flood waters have subsided.

The Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) is providing evacuation services in affected townships, assisting with water and sanitation in evacuation sites. MRCS is also providing food, drinking water, emergency tarpaulins and shelter tool kits, hygiene kits and mosquito nets, as well as first aid and emergency healthcare services. INGOs have provided water and sanitation support, including chlorination of water sources and distributing water purification tablets in Sagaing Region. UN agencies continue to closely monitor the situation and remain in contact with local and national authorities and stand ready to support the Government’s Response, if required.

Needs/Gaps: In Magway Region, as some people from low-lying areas remain displaced in temporary evacuation sites and some people may be temporarily displaced again during the coming weeks as the monsoon season continues, there may be a need for additional assistance, particularly for food, tarpaulins and water and sanitation support, according to the regional RRD. Local authorities and RRD have provided initial assistance and are closely monitoring the situation. The UN and MRCS are also following the situation and liaising closely with the regional authorities to respond to further humanitarian needs, if required.

Weather Outlook

The Government of Myanmar’s Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH) has issued flood warnings for a few townships in Ayeyarwady and Bago regions as the water levels of rivers have reached above danger levels and advised people who live in low lying areas/close to rivers to take precautionary measures. DMH reported on 27 July that rains or thundershowers will be widespread in all states and regions with increased rains in Tanintharyi Region, as well as in Kayin and Mon states.

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