Myanmar: Preliminary findings of post-Nargis joint assessment confirm need for continued relief assistance

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Yangon, 25 June 2008 - Preliminary findings based on 50% of the data from the Village Tract Assessment (VTA) component of Post-Nargis Joint Assessment (PONJA) indicate that more immediate, life-saving relief needs remain to be provided. These findings were revealed at the ASEAN Roundtable meeting in Yangon on 24 June. Humanitarian relief efforts should continue to cover unmet needs.

In compliment to what the Government, private sector, local communities and NGOs have provided, international community have reached 730,000 people through the distribution of 9,200 MT of food. Another 7,800 MT are in the pipeline. VTA findings show that 45% of households receive food through humanitarian assistance, while 56% obtain food from the markets. Considering that 42% of all food stocks were destroyed, continued food assistance is required.

60% of households admitted that access to clean water is inadequate, especially as they have shifted from use of ponds (now salinated) to rain water catchments system. The international community has provided and installed 50 water treatment units to supply 250,000 people with 3 liters of clean water per person/day.

Findings show that 22% of households suffer from psychological stress, pointing to the need for appropriate support strategies. Although there has been no major disease outbreak to date, the preliminary findings show that open defecation has more than doubled, which poses serious risks for disease propagation.

With 59% of houses being severely damaged, VTA enumerators expressed concern that those being rebuilt with bamboo using traditional design will only be adequate for a maximum of 2 years. Shelter designed in the spirit of 'Build Back Better' would be an important form of longer-term recovery activities.

Regarding livelihoods, preliminary findings reveal a large increase in unemployment because less people are currently active in the agriculture and fishery sectors. 60% of village leaders suggest that there are not enough seeds for the next planting season. In addition, 78% of households report on lack of access to credit, which may impede community self-help efforts.

Minimizing disrupting to the education of children has been considered a priority. The humanitarian community has repaired 425 primary schools to date, and provided 135 temporary learning spaces. Essential learning packages have also been distributed to some 94,000 children, while provision of School-in-a-Box and Recreation kits has benefited some 65,000 students.

The results of VTA will inform the revised Humanitarian Appeal, which is set for early July. The Flash Appeal requested some $200 million and is currently funded at 66%.

The presentation on VTA preliminary findings is available in Myanmar Humanitarian Information Centre website:

For further information please contact:

Yangon: Laksmita Noviera, United Nations Coordination Office Myanmar, Tel: +95 1 544 500 # 808, Email: noviera@un.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Bangkok: Amanda Pitt, OCHA Regional Office for Asia & Pacific, Tel: + 66 2288 1195, Mob: +66 81 374 1035, Email: pitta@un.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it