On 2 May 2008, Cyclone Nargis struck the coast of Myanmar. Over two days, the cyclone moved across the Ayeyarwady Delta and southern Yangon Division resulting in tragic loss of life and widespread destruction. The disaster hit townships with a total population of 7.6 million. Many of those affected suffered devastating losses of family members, homes and livelihoods.
The response to this tragedy has involved a large number of actors: the government as well as the private sector, religious groups, local and international aid organizations, ASEAN and its member countries, UN agencies, local and international NGOs and several bilateral donors. In order to ensure that the relief and recovery efforts of all partners would effectively address the needs of the people of the Delta and to report on the scale of these efforts, the Tripartite Core Group approved on 9 September 2008 a comprehensive results framework and monitoring system. The framework includes three components: results monitoring, aid tracking, and community monitoring. The community monitoring component comprises: (1) the Post-Nargis Periodic Review, which is designed to report at regular intervals on progress in meeting needs at the household and community level for the most affected areas, primarily using quantitative survey methods; and (2) a complementary qualitative social monitoring of the impacts of
Cyclone Nargis and the aid effort, the Post-Nargis Social Impacts Monitoring. This report outlines the results from the first phase of the social impacts monitoring. It aims to assess the social dimensions of the impacts of Nargis and of aid delivery from the perspectives of affected communities six months on from the cyclone and the start of the relief effort. It focuses on issues of aid effectiveness, the socioeconomic impacts of the disaster, and the impact on social relations within and between communities.
Within two weeks of the disaster, 40 percent of the villages surveyed had received some assistance despite the difficult terrain and circumstances; within a month, 80 percent of the surveyed villages had received support; in the end, all villages in the study-even the most remote ones-had been reached. Although aid was not always delivered through the most effective channels and did not always correspond to the needs of the people, it did help them survive and reduce their suffering. Today's challenges are different: the report shows that the people need assistance to re-start their livelihoods. It also shows that aid would be more effective in the longer term if communities could determine themselves the support they need.