Myanmar: Operations update - 23 Feb 2007

Situation Report
Originally published


The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in 185 countries.

In Brief

Overview: This report covers the period of July-November 2006 of Myanmar Red Cross achievements as a result of Federation support under the tsunami programme. This main document provides an overview and there are links under each programme heading to more detailed information if required. These combined documents are more detail focused compared with the two-year tsunami programme overview for Myanmar, which was released recently.

The International Federation undertakes activities that are aligned with its Global Agenda, which sets out four broad goals to meet the Federation's mission to "improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity".

Global Agenda Goals:

Reduce the numbers of deaths, injuries and impact from disasters.

Reduce the number of deaths, illnesses and impact from diseases and public health emergencies.

Increase local community, civil society and Red Cross Red Crescent capacity to address the most urgent situations of vulnerability.

Reduce intolerance, discrimination and social exclusion and promote respect for diversity and human dignity.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

Bridget Gardner, Head of Myanmar Delegation; e-mail:; Phone/Fax: +95.1.383.686

Federation Southeast Asia regional delegation in Thailand: Bekele Geleta, head of regional delegation, phone: + 66 2 661 8201 ext 100,

Federation Secretariat in Geneva (Asia Pacific Department): Gert Venghaus or Sabine Feuglet, Asia Pacific Department; or; Phone: +41.22.730.4258/4456; Fax: +41.22.733.0395

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's) in Disaster Relief and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (Sphere) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

For longer-term programmes in this or other countries or regions, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for national society profiles, please also access the Federation's website at For longer-term programmes, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal.


Record rainfall was recorded in many parts of the country causing flooding and forcing people from their homes. State media reported that heavy rains had damaged sections of the Mawlamyine-Dawei Railway and had caused the Hngatpyawtaw dam in Kawlin Township in Sagaing Division to burst.

Htamanthi Dam, the biggest dam in Myanmar, will be built on the Chindwin River. The completed dam is expected to create a reservoir with a surface area of 540 square miles. It is hoped that the electricity generated from this project will support the country to address its power needs with the surplus reportedly to be sold to India.

International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has announced that it will introduce genetically modified flood- resistant rice to Myanmar for trial use by the end of 2006. IRRI claims that the seasonal monsoon flooding in lowland areas results in losses of 10 to 100 percent of rice yields a year in some areas, with annual losses amounting to about US$1 billion. IRRI claims that this variety will assist in food security for 70 million of the world's poorest people.

The United Nations Security Council requested a formal briefing from UN envoy, Ibrahim Gambari, following the first high-level visit of the UN envoy to Myanmar in two years. In September the Security Council also put Myanmar on its formal agenda for discussion. This move attracted wide international coverage. Disturbing reports regarding hundreds of Myanmar IDPs arriving at camps along the Thai border continue to be reported in the international media. Approval for access to this area for humanitarian organisations to make assessments has been very difficult with the authorities citing concerns regarding security as the major issue.

Ministry of Health officials are hopeful that with community participation they will maintain Myanmar's poliofree status. A campaign to provide polio vaccination to 2 million children was announced following a case of the polio-virus being detected in Mandalay. International support has been offered to assist in addressing the issue.

The Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries followed the advice of 'international avian influenza experts' by selling mobile phones at reduced rates to poultry farmers in areas previously affected by the avian influenza. This strategy was reported to be designed to allow information regarding virus outbreaks to be distributed with maximum speed.

In 2005 the Global Fund withdrew from Myanmar citing reasons related to imposed travel restrictions impeding the delivery of medical supplies and services. Six donors have since established the ''Three Diseases Fund'' to assist the national response to AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Whilst this will not provide ''extra'' funding it will go some way in addressing the shortfall created following this withdrawal.

Mingalar Byu Har (a religious organisation) held its 86th blood donation ceremony in August attracting some 700 donors, about 60 % of whom had sufficiently high haemoglobin to give blood. It is reportedly one of the biggest blood-donating organisations in Myanmar, and has provided about 22,000 units since 1980. The needs of the country require a great deal more donors.

A symposium hosted by the Myanma r engineering society has highlighted the need to take steps to mitigate thehazards of earthquakes in Myanmar. The society's president said cooperation among government departments was needed to reduce the potential loss of life and property in the event of a major earthquake. He proposed more earthquake research despite limited resources and incomplete data calling for educational campaigns about earthquake hazards and a credible seismic zoning system for the country. The most seismically active areas in Myanmar are the Coco and Andaman Islands, Sagaing, Kachin and Shan states.