Myanmar: Monsoon Floods Emergency Plan of Action Operation Update n° 1 DREF n° MDRMM012

Situation Report
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Description of the disaster

Seasonal monsoons have brought strong winds and heavy rains across Myanmar, which further intensified with depressions and low-pressure areas over the Bay of Bengal, causing increased water levels in major rivers and flooding.

More than 231,000 people have been affected in various states and regions including Chin, Kachin, Magway, Mandalay Sagaing, Rakhine in the first round (July), and in Ayeyarwaddy, Bago, Kayin, Mon, Tanintharyi and Yangon in the second round (August to date).

The flooding caused the closure of more than 500 schools, destruction of at least 375 houses, infrastructure, crop harvests, and livestock. This also triggered landslides, particularly in Paung Township, Mon state affecting 175 people, and led to at least 75 deaths with around 40 persons reported to still be unrecovered.

Many of the affected population have returned home from temporary shelters. While the immediate threat to lives is no longer present, significant needs remain among the most vulnerable such as support for food, water, hygiene and sanitation, health and shelter. As of the reporting period, heavy rains persist and flood warnings are consistently being issued by Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH), particularly in southern Myanmar. The situation needs to be monitored closely throughout the monsoon and cyclone seasons which are expected to last until October 2019.

Summary of current response

Overview of Host National Society

As of this reporting period, Myanmar Red Cross (MRCS) has reached more than 62,000 people through more than 680 volunteers with different services including dissemination of early warning early action messages, assisting in the evacuation process, managing evacuation sites, rapid needs assessment, provision of first aid services and psychosocial support. MRCS is recognised as one of the main first responders to floods and landslides, and the key actor in coordination with local authorities aiming to reach remote areas. Access of MRCS staff and volunteers to areas submerged in flood waters have been supported through the provision of boats.

MRCS has provided direct assistance in the form of emergency cash amounting to a total of CHF27,000 (MMK41,440,000) to more than 4,000 people in Kachin and Mon states; and household items to more than 22,000 people in various states and regions. These were supported through utilizing existing stocks, the MRCS Emergency Management Fund (EMF), local donors, and the private sector. In addition to the EMF, the MRCS has mobilized additional resources to support the operations through the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF), bilateral support from PNS, and donations from the private sector and local donors.

MRCS Emergency Operation Centres (EOC) in Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon have been alert, continuously monitoring and disseminating early warning information, and gathering data on needs and response activities from branches. While full activation of MRCS SOPs was not done, cross-departmental coordination was initiated at the start of the operation through weekly update meetings starting 23 August 2019. Key department representatives from Disaster Management (DM), Health, First Aid and Safety Services (FASS), and WASH Unit were also involved in facilitating the MRCS Response Operation Planning meeting.

Overview of Red Cross Red Crescent Movement in country

IFRC has provided support to the MRCS in developing an overall Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) which encompasses the support from the DREF, other PNS such as the Turkish Red Crescent (TRC) and the German Red Cross (GRC), private sector and local donors. This aims to ensure a comprehensive and coordinate approach on the Floods Operations led by the National Society.
The DREF allocation is complemented with the support from the TRC on replenishment of household items and procurement of boats, and the GRC on trainings, provision of personal protective equipment (PPEs) for staff and volunteers, and the procurement of boats.
Technical support on the development and update of the EPoA, planning on rapid assessment, and coordination were provided by the American Red Cross and the Finnish Red Cross. MRCS has conducted two (2) coordination meetings to share response operation updates and the EPoA with the participation of Movement Partners and weekly update meetings starting 23 August 2019 with MRCS key departments as part of the Emergency Task Force.
With the support from IFRC, MRCS has developed the Procurement Plan and initiated the recruitment process for HR support under the DREF.
MRCS organized a Response Operation Planning meeting on 6 September 2019 with the participation of key departments and representatives from the state/region and township branches.
MRCS, with the support of IFRC, conducted a Communications field visit in Mon and Tanintharyi from 11 – 14 September 2019 to develop communications materials from interviews with communities and branch staff and volunteers involved in the operations.
On 22 August 2019, the IFRC released CHF 299,975 from the DREF to support MRCS respond to the escalating situation, after their own capacity and resources was exceeded. The major donors and partners of the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) include the Red Cross Societies and governments of Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark,
German, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland, as well as DG ECHO and Blizzard Entertainment, Mondelez International Foundation, and Fortive Corporation and other corporate and private donors. The IFRC, on behalf of the national society, would like to extend thanks to all for their generous contributions.

Overview of non-RCRC actors in country

The Government, through the Disaster Management Committees (DMCs) from the national to the township levels, have led evacuations, managing shelter sites, search and rescue, and provision of assistance including unconditional cash grants, food, and medical assistance.
An emergency coordination meeting of the National Disaster Management Committee (NDMC) was called on 13 August 2019 to discuss effective and efficient response measures. The Government has provided more than MMK 300 million (CHF 191,000) for rice, MMK 14 million (CHF8,900) for destroyed and damaged houses, MMK 23 million (CHF 14,600) for casualties, and MMK 3.9 million (CHF 2,400) for household items. Contributions were also provided through the support of monasteries, churches, other faith-based groups, civil society and private individuals.
During the height of the emergency in mid-August, the MoHS activated their EOC and opened an additional six sentinel sites (previously MoHS had two sites only) in key hospitals in the flood-affected areas to manage epidemiological data collection and analysis for outbreak detection. The MoHS dispatched disaster response teams to the affected areas and increased hygiene and health promotion activities in addition to positioning health kits for basic health service provided either through static health facilities or mobile health clinics operated by MoHS. The MoHS has also increased antivenom sites.

DMH has consistently issued flood and cyclone warning levels, particularly in southern Myanmar. From September 2019 to date, low pressure conditions formed in Northwest Bay of Bengal and flood danger levels were reported in Sittoung and Bago rivers in Bago region and Bilin river in Mon state.
International agencies also responded to specific gaps. UNICEF assisted with the provision of containers for storing water, water purification supplies and hygiene kits. WHO also assisted with water purification supplies, emergency medical kits and by sharing technical guidelines on snake bite management with health partners with WHO supported the mobilization of mobile health clinics. UNFPA supplied dignity kits, including hygiene items specifically for women, as part of the response.1 On 14 August 2019, the START Network supported the operations of INGOs including Christian Aid, World Jewish Relief and HelpAge International, to provide support on WASH and Food Security in Mon and Kayin states.