Heavy rains caused floods and landslides in several parts of Myanmar since June 2015. On 30 July, Cyclone Komen made landfall in Bangladesh, bringing strong winds and additional heavy rains to the country, which resulted in widespread flooding across 12 of the country’s 14 states and regions (Ayeyarwady, Bago, Chin, Kachin, Kayin, Magway, Mandalay, Mon, Rakhine, Sagaing, Shan, Yangon). On 31 July, the President declared Chin and Rakhine states, and Magway and Sagaing regions as natural disaster zones.
According to the National Natural Disaster Management Committee (NNDMC), 125 people were killed and some 1.7 million people were temporarily displaced by floods and landslides. Almost all of the displaced people had returned to their villages of origin by the end of September, leaving only about 10,000 people in evacuation centres (mainly in Sagaing Region and Chin State) awaiting relocation. The Government has said it expects most of these remaining displaced people to return to their villages of origin or to be relocated by the end of October, although a portion of these people may be in temporary accommodation for longer, particularly in the case of people who are going to be permanently relocated to new sites.
The NNDMC identified Hakha in Chin State, Kale in Sagaing Region, Pwintbyu in Magway Region, and Minbya and Mrauk-U in Rakhine as the five most affected townships where a total of 229,600 people were affected by the floods. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, over 1.1 million acres of farmlands have been inundated, with more than 872,000 acres destroyed, as of 4 October. So far, 495,000 acres have since been re-cultivated. Damage to crops and arable land will disrupt the planting season and pose a risk to long-term food security.
While the water has receded in most areas, many roads and bridges were destroyed in the worst affected states and regions. The roads in Chin State were particularly badly affected and continue to pose a major logistical challenge for assessments and assistance delivery.
Multi-sectoral Initial Rapid Assessments (MIRA) were conducted in 317 locations of 34 townships in Ayeyarwady, Bago, Chin, Magway, Rakhine and Sagaing, covering close to 200,000 people. Other needs assessments were also carried out in areas not covered by the MIRA assessments in Chin and Rakhine states. According to the Rakhine State Government (RSG), Buthidaung, Kyauktaw, Minbya, Maungdaw and Mrauk-U townships were the most severely affected areas in Rakhine State. In many parts of Rahine State, floods and salt water severely damaged the paddy fields. A major concern remains water contamination, as most villages use water ponds for drinking water and many ponds were flooded and contaminated.(OCHA, 4 Nov 2015)
Six months on from the devastating floods that struck Myanmar, around 400,000 people have received emergency assistance and support in their recovery from the Myanmar Red Cross Society and its partners in the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. At their peak the floods affected over 9 million people across 12 of Myanmar’s 14 states and regions. The floods temporarily displaced over 1.7 million people and destroyed 15,000 homes as well as more than 840,000 acres of agricultural crops.
Between July 2015 and January 2016, over 1,400 Red Cross volunteers and staff from the Myanmar Red Cross Society and Red Cross partners assisted flood affected people across the country. The first phase included evacuations, providing emergency relief such as purified water, food, household items, and shelter materials. Since then, efforts have been focused on supporting the longer term recovery of flood affected communities across the five worst hit regions of Chin, Rakhine, Sagaing, Magway and Ayerwady with livelihood activities, cleaning of contaminated ponds and wells and infrastructure rehabilitation. (ICRC, IFRC, Myanmar Red Cross Society, 29 Jan 2016)