This report was issued by OCHA office in Myanmar. It covers the period from 4 to 10 July 2009.
I. HIGHLIGHTS/KEY PRIORITIES
- Over 1,000 people have been affected and are in need of support following a landslide due to heavy rains in northern Myanmar.
- The official number of fatalities still remains unconfirmed.
- Food and water and sanitation are anticipated as main priority needs, as well as non-food items.
- Local level authorities are coordinating the response in many sectors. No formal, official request for assistance is anticipated at this stage.
- Local charity groups have been providing support to the population in need. International NGOs have also started supplying relief items.
II. Situation Overview
- On the 4th of July 2009, a landslide caused by heavy rains swept away a jade miners' settlement along the Uru River in Hpakant Township, northern Kachin State. Another jade mining city, Seng Tawng, was also reported to have been affected by the floods. Villages in the surrounding area are also reported to be affected.
- In the absence of a credible assessment, initial information collected reveals a wide range of disparate mortality and affected population levels. It is anticipated that clearer fatality and casualty figures will be available within the next days. The New Light of Myanmar, a State-run newspaper, reports the number of fatalities to be 24 at this stage.
- In Hpakant, it is reported that a total of between 900 and 1,000 individuals are currently accommodated in a total of five informal displacement locations, including four monasteries and one school. Similarly, approximately 200 individuals are currently accommodated in a monastery in Tar Ma Hkan. The population in these locations is reported to include families.
- UNICEF will send one staff member from Myitkyina to the affected area to accompany the transportion of family and essential drug kits on Sunday 12 July, as well as to conduct an initial rapid survey of the situation and needs, together with other agencies who work in the area, including UNDP and MSF. The informal survey will concentrate on identifying whether local authorities may require additional support. Preliminary results will most likely be available on Tuesday morning.
- A Medecins Sans Frontieres-Netherlands (MSF) team, normally based in the area, is liaising closely with the authorities in Hpakant and is providing support to the hospital, as well as providing NFIs to the population in the informal displacement locations. The 25 bed-hospital is now housing over 50 patients, with some sleeping on the floor. Part of the hospital has also been flooded.
- Road access to the flooded areas was restored on 9 July 2009, although access to some affected villages remains challenging. Access to telephone communication is also still limited.
- So far there has been good cooperation between agencies and local authorities in Hpakant Township.
- UN agencies and NGOs working around Hpakant Township are taking stock of their individual stockpiles in order to plan and coordinate distributions and support.
- At the national level, OCHA and UNDP met with the Ministry of Social Welfare on 9 July 2009 to offer support and request any available official information. The Ministry indicated that the Divisional Government was handling the situation and that information was still being gathered. Assistance would be requested should the need arise but was not anticipated at this time.
III. Humanitarian Needs and Response
- Food is anticipated as the main priority for the affected population at this moment in time.
- Food is currently being provided to the population in the informal displacement sites through local charity groups and contributions from local communities. However, it is being reported that these resources are about to be exhausted.
- WFP has been in contact with the local authorities and will be distributing emergency food aid through one of its existing cooperating partners, MSF-Netherlands, as soon as possible. Exact figures will be made available to WFP and these will be shared with OCHA and other partners thereafter.
- ACF stands ready to support food distributions should the need for additional capacity arise.
- MSF has been providing support to the local hospital in the form of infusions and antibiotics. UNICEF stands ready to provide more basic medical supplies, if needed.
- UNICEF has confirmed that 5 essential drug kits (separate kits for basic health facilities as well as for hospitals), oral rehydration salts, and first aid kits which had been prepositioned in the area are available for distribution to the relevant authorities and health facilities. These will be transported to the affected area on Sunday 12 July by truck from Myitkyina.
- IOM offered to deploy one medical team and tent (including essential drugs), if requested.
Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene
- Clean drinking water as well as sanitation are also a top priority for the affected population. One out of the two main water pumps in the area was reportedly out of commission, although there is no information on the impact of that to the affected population.
- UNICEF has previously supported the authorities with water chlorination materials which they are still using. The supplies for water chlorination are reported to be sufficient, although UNICEF is ready to provide additional supplies if needed and requested.
- Critical needs currently identified are blankets, bed-nets and kitchen sets.
- MSF-NL will provide blankets (one per person) and bed-nets to the population in informal displacement locations in both Hpakant and Tar Ma Hkan.
- UNICEF has 200 family kits (which include 28 items, among which are one tarpaulin, cooking equipment as well as hygiene items) available in a local Government warehouse in Myitkyina. UNICEF is providing a truck to the local authorities for the transport of these family kits to the affected area on Sunday 12 July.
- IOM is ready to provide NFIs currently located in the Ayeyarwady Delta to the affected area (including 100 body bags, 39 jerry-cans, 500,000 drinking cups, 2 stretchers, 800 pieces of rope and 8 purification hand pumps).
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.