As Myanmar continues to grapple with the impact of monsoon flooding and landslides, AmeriCares staff is on the ground working with the local partner on rapid needs & health assessments and relief/early recovery operations in almost 200 villages in three townships in the Irrawaddy Delta.
The floods, triggered by rain from a heavy monsoon season and compounded by Cyclone Komen, have killed more than 100 people and affected more than one million, prompting the Burmese government to declare four disaster zones in the country and make a plea for international help. Many rural villages in southern Myanmar remain cut off by landslides, damaged roads and high waters and are in urgent need of assistance.
AmeriCares has been working since February 2015 to implement community-based disaster risk reduction training in villages in the disaster-prone Irrawaddy Delta. Many of these villages have experienced flooding, with others at imminent risk of flooding. Church World Service, AmeriCares partner in Myanmar, recently led emergency-preparedness refresher training for community organizations, which then deployed to at-risk communities in the delta.
Impact from the flooding includes housing displacement, food insecurity, economic insecurity due to loss of livelihoods, public health threats like water contamination, dengue fever, snake bites and mental health and psychosocial issues. AmeriCares is ready to respond with medicine and relief supplies to meet immediate and longer term health needs. The organization stocks emergency medicine and supplies in its warehouses in the U.S., Europe and India that can be delivered quickly in times of crisis and launches comprehensive recovery programs that restore health services for survivors.
“The current disaster highlights the risks the people of the Irrawaddy Delta—and much of Myanmar—face from flooding and other hazards,” said Vice President of Emergency Response Garrett Ingoglia. “We will continue to work in coordination with local partners to build the resilience of disaster-prone communities in Myanmar, and, when necessary, support their response efforts when disaster strikes.”
AmeriCares has been aiding survivors of natural disasters, political conflict and extreme poverty around the world for more than 30 years, saving lives and restoring health and hope. When Cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar in 2008, AmeriCares was one of the first relief organizations allowed into the nation, delivering 15 tons of medicines and medical supplies for survivors.