3. CYCLONE GIRI EMERGENCY RESPONSE
Cyclone Giri, reaching a category four status on the Saffir-Simpson scale, made landfall in western coast of Myanmar's Rakhine State on 22 October 2010. The Townships of Kyaukpyu, Myebon, Minbya and Pauktaw were the most severely affected by the storm, which caused severe damage to houses and infrastructure including roads and bridges in coastal areas. The Government has confirmed that at least 45 people were dead or missing while over 100,000 people were homeless. At least 20,380 houses were completely destroyed, with a total of at least 260,000 people (52,000 households) affected. Approximately 17,500 acres of agricultural lands and nearly 50,000 acres of aquaculture ponds were also destroyed.
Ahead of the cyclone reaching coastal areas, the Government of Myanmar in collaboration with the Red Cross issued warnings to the population and organized the evacuation of people in coastal areas to safe locations. Immediately after the cyclone, assistance were delivered by all humanitarian partners, including the Government and local authorities, local NGOs, international NGOs as well as the United Nations.
Coordination meetings among the humanitarian partners were called in Yangon immediately after the cyclone and the first situation report was issued on 23 October 2010. OCHA set up a hub office in Sittwe to fulfill the immediate need for coordination on the ground. The MIMU also deployed a staff member to facilitate the information management on the ground.
The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator (RC/HC), UNHCR, UNDP and OCHA representatives travelled to Sittwe on 28-29 October and met with UN, INGO/NGO representatives and held discussions with Government Ministers in charge of the response efforts. Initial rapid assessments were conducted by partners in the field and a webpage dedicated to the cyclone response was created on the MIMU website.
The RC/HC and the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) in Myanmar activated the cluster system for the response to Cyclone Giri on 5 November 2010. Cluster information management focal points were appointed at Yangon level and sector focal points at the field level were designated in Sittwe.
Various donors provided support for the response activities. An application to the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) was submitted on 9 November to the CERF Secretariat. The application of approximately US$ 6 million for Cyclone Giri emergency response in Myanmar was later approved by the Under Secretary General/Emergency Response Coordinator-CERF Secretariat. Four Donor Briefings were organized specifically on Cyclone Giri from October to December 2010 during which the RC/HC and the Cluster Leads provided an overview on the response to the Cyclone, main achievements, gaps and funding needs. In mid December, the RC/HC together with UNHCR, WFP Country Representatives and the OCHA Head of Office, made a second visit to the cyclone-affected areas. Since the beginning of 2011, the RC/HC has pursued his engagement and support to the GIRI affected areas with the support of partners.
As the situation became stabilized, the nine Clusters established to support the emergency relief response to cyclone Giri agreed to be de-activated towards the end of January 2011 following the RC/HC's endorsement. As of early January 2011, approximately US$ 22 million has been allocated for the Cyclone Giri response, including US$ 6 million from the CERF.
Throughout the emergency response period, five press releases were disseminated by the RC/HC Office and 13 situation reports were issued by OCHA (11 emergency situation reports and two field reports).
The RC/HC, UNIC, RC/HC Office as well as heads of clusters, UN agencies and INGOs, gave a large number of interviews on the impact of the cyclone, the assessments and the needs. The outreach activities resulted in 50+ articles in international media. Village level Who-What-Where maps and reports were produced in consultation with the cluster IM focal points and thematic maps issued throughout the emergency. Comprehensive sectoral assessments were carried out by different clusters during December 2010 and January 2011 and their findings were used to develop Action Plans to ensure a smooth transition into the recovery process. Following the deactivation of the cluster, OCHA phased out of Sittwe, handing over the coordination responsibility to UNDP.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.