13 August 2015
Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement scales up response in Myanmar to help communities hit by flooding
- Myanmar Red Cross Society volunteer and father of two killed in rescue mission
- Over a million people have been affected, up to 100 killed and thousands of people have fled their homes.
- IFRC launches emergency appeal for £2.6million
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) has today launched an emergency appeal to provide further help to people devastated by Myanmar’s recent flooding. The IFRC hopes to raise £2.6million (4 million Swiss Francs) so it can provide additional relief to flood stricken communities.
Over one million people have been affected by the flooding, which began in July. Professor Tha Hla Shwe, president of Myanmar Red Cross Society explained “The humanitarian impact of the floods continues to increase. Many areas remain inundated and people in evacuation centres need emergency relief. Others, who are now able to return home, are finding their houses and livelihoods destroyed and their water sources contaminated.”
Over 500 Red Cross staff and volunteers have been carrying out evacuations as well as providing life-saving first aid, blankets, hygiene kits, food and water. So far over 50,000 people have been reached, but the new appeal aims to increase this total to over 100,000.
As flooding continues Red Cross teams will work around the clock to provide emergency assistance but they know the crisis will continue long after the water subsides. An estimated one million acres of agricultural land has been damaged by flood water. Once urgent humanitarian needs have been met the Red Cross will help to re-establishing livelihoods. Udaya Regmi, IFRC head of delegation in Myanmar. “Over the next month people will need basic relief items but this will be balanced with distributions of cash to help them get back on their feet. Our longer term support will include help to rebuild homes and community infrastructure such as wells, water sources and latrines”.
On 9 August relief efforts were marred by tragedy when Myanmar Red Cross volunteer and father or two, U Kyaw Kyaw Lyin died helping marooned villagers escape the rising waters. U Kyaw Kyaw and three other Red Cross volunteers were rescuing the group, who were stranded at a local monastery, when the river bank collapsed sweeping U Kyaw Kyaw into the current. Despite the best efforts of search and rescue teams, he was not found.
Jagan Chapagain, chief of staff at the IFRC said: “When a life is lost under such tragic circumstances, it is a stark reminder of the dangers that Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers confront when carrying out humanitarian work. U Kyaw Kyaw will be remembered as someone who embodied the true humanitarian spirit and put others before himself.”