Cyclone Mora destroyed a total of 4,702 houses and caused damage to 13,595 homes in Arakan State, Chin State and Irrawaddy Division, according to a statement yesterday from Burma’s Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement.
Official figures also say that 325 schools, 32 office buildings and 57 religious buildings were completely destroyed, while 429 non-residential buildings were partly damaged. A total of 23 hospitals and clinics, 23 governmental buildings, three bridges, 38 utility poles and 22 motorboats were also damaged by the cyclone, the ministry said.
After months of public silence, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi has acknowledged, albeit somewhat obliquely, the deteriorating security environment in Kachin State, with the office of Burma’s de facto leader donating 300 million kyats ($222,000) in cash assistance to those displaced by conflict.
By KIMBERLEY PHILLIPS / DVB
A Malaysian NGO has announced plans to send a flotilla of humanitarian aid to the stricken Rohingya population in northern Arakan State, while Burma’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has cautioned that any such shipment should be directed at assisting both Muslim and Buddhist communities in the country’s west.
By NAW NOREEN / DVB
The Karen State Security and Border Affairs Ministry has reprimanded the Karen National Union (KNU) for sending a medical team to the town of Thandaung to provide free health care without first receiving permission.
In a letter sent to the armed group’s liaison office in Hpa-an on 27 October, Col. Aung Lwin, the minister for security and border affairs, said that in future the KNU should inform the government of any plans to carry out such activities.
The recent census results highlight the gap in access to education and family planning options for women living in rural areas, say human rights and non-governmental organisations.
Married women in Chin State give birth to nine children on average, compared to four in Rangoon, according to the 2014 Myanmar Population and Housing Census Thematic Report on Fertility and Nuptiality.
By LIBBY HOGAN / DVB
More than a month after initial reports of a deadly outbreak of measles in the Naga Self-Administered Zone started reaching people outside of this remote region of northern Burma, people there continue to die from the disease, despite efforts to contain its spread. To find out about the response to the health crisis hitting one of the poorest parts of Burma, DVB spoke to Naw Aung Sann, the general secretary of the Council of Naga Affairs.
Burma’s state media has reported that 19 people across the country have died so far this year from Japanese encephalitis, while some 173 confirmed cases of the disease have been recorded.
The report said that the cases were initially detected in Irrawaddy, Rangoon and Pegu divisions, but later spread to northern Shan, Arakan, Karen and Mon states.
Three weeks after their homes began to succumb to rising water levels on the Bawle River, residents of Sankin Island in Irrawaddy Division’s Nyaungdon Township say there is still no end to their ordeal in sight, even as floodwaters elsewhere in the delta region show signs of subsiding.
People living on the island said the flooding began on 27 July, and has since left thousands of acres of paddy farms ruined and the local fishery — their other main source of income — equally devastated.
Australia has announced plans to provide Burma with additional aid to assist communities displaced by conflict and natural disasters.
Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said the Australian $12 million (US$9.2 million) in extra financial assistance would be used “to help address the legacy of decades of civil conflict and vulnerability to natural disaster” in Burma.
More than a dozen children have died of infectious diseases in a single village in northern Burma’s Naga Self-Administered Zone since the beginning of June, according to government reports.
The reports said that respiratory infections and diarrhea had claimed the lives of 18 people, including 13 children under the age of 12, in the village of Htan Khaw Lanma in Lahe Township over the past two months.
“One of my friends is five weeks pregnant. She is uneducated and poor. Her boyfriend ran away when she told him that she was pregnant. She’s crying.”
By Kimberley Phillips
“One of my friends is five weeks pregnant. She is uneducated and poor. Her boyfriend ran away when she told him that she was pregnant. She’s crying and helpless. She’s thinking about abortion with an unlicensed nurse. It’s too dangerous for her… It’s been five weeks.”
Already displaced by conflict between rebels and the Burmese army, more than 150 Arakanese villagers are now facing a water shortage as the hot season bears down on the impoverished and conflict-ridden state.
The IDPs are taking shelter in Ywarmapyin, in the Arakan State capital city of Kyauktaw , due to fierce fighting between the Arakan Army and the Burmese military. But as temperatures soar, water supplies are fast running out.
Zagara, a local monk that runs an IDP charity, said the situation could worsen throughout March.
The number of severely malnourished children has spiked in northern Arakan state in Burma, a European Union agency said, after floods six months ago dealt a new blow to an area home to a persecuted population with little access to basic services.
About 90 percent of the people in northern Arakan [Rakhine] State are Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority that faces discrimination and violence in mostly Buddhist Burma. The government does not recognise them as citizens, and many Rohingya are excluded from healthcare, education and employment.
At least 12 people have died in a cholera outbreak in the southern Karen State town of Kyainseikgyi in the past the two months, according to the Backpack Health Worker Team.
Saw De De, a medic working with the Backpack mobile clinic, said outbreaks of cholera and dysentery have hit some 50 villages in the area, as well as some areas in neighbouring Kawkareit Township.
By Kimberley Phillips
Around 150 children in Monywa have been hospitalised since an outbreak of dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) hit the Sagaing Division city. To date, 15 have died this year, according to Monywa General Hospital.
Dr Nyunt Than, chief medical officer at the hospital, said on Monday that the institute’s children’s ward was only built to house 80 patients at a time, and was now struggling amid shortage of space.
The Sagaing Division town of Kale, or Kalay, has been arguably the worst hit area by the floods, but water levels are now receding.
At least half the town, which has a population of 400,000, has been underwater for the best part of a week, while transport has been almost completely at a standstill in and out of Kale, as landslides have blocked or destroyed the roads in the surrounding hills.
Thousands of people have been evacuated to shelters.
Thirty-seven persons in Burma have died of dengue fever so far this year, according to the Ministry of Health, which warned that the rate of infection in the first half of 2015 is double that of the same period last year.
Speaking at a coordination meeting on the prevention of dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) in Naypyidaw on Friday, Minister of Health Dr Than Aung said that as of 17 June, 8,475 cases of the disease have been reported in Burma this year.
By AYE NAI
When a doctor of 16 years was posted as chief of the Health Department in the town of Ingapu, in Irrawaddy Division’s Henzada [Hinthada] District, he saw it as an opportunity to put into action a long-held plan.
“I always dreamt about a project to provide food to families at an affordable price, for no profit,” Dr Nanda Win told DVB.
Despite the national economic boom Burma has seen in the past few years, millions of the country’s citizens still live in poverty.
Hundreds of displaced civilians from northern Shan State’s war-torn Kokang region have been returned to their hometown of Laogai after taking refuge in the city of Lashio to escape heavy fighting, which the Burmese government says has now ceased.
Sayadaw [head monk] Ashin Awba of the Mansu Buddhist monastery in Lashio, which has provided shelter to refugees, told DVB that 250 people were transported on the 150-kilometre road back to Laogai (also written Laukkai) by government officials on Tuesday.