Myanmar: Cyclone Nargis OCHA Situation Report No. 30
1. Cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar on 2 and 3 May 2008, making landfall in the Ayeyarwady Division and hitting the former capital, Yangon. Of 37 townships affected by the cyclone, 15 are considered to be ‘worst-affected’. Current estimates suggest that 2.4 million people were affected and 1.3 million people are estimated to have been reached so far by International NGOs, the Red Cross and the UN. Official figures as of 16 May state that 77,738 people have been killed and 55,917 are missing.
2. A Tripartite Core Group (TCG), consisting of high-level representative of the Government of Myanmar, ASEAN and the UN, was established at the donor conference on 25 May to oversee the coordination of relief assistance. The group’s fourth meeting took place on 11 June.
3. A joint relief and early recovery assessment (Post-Nargis Joint Assessment/PONJA) commenced on 5 June with training, an official launch on 9 June and deployment of assessment teams on 10 June. 160 assessment personnel in 32 teams were dispatched to Yangon Division and 15 personnel from three hub coordination teams to Pathein, Bogale and Pyapon on 10 June. On 11 June 35 personnel in 7 teams departed to villages in Yangon Division, 125 personnel in 25 teams departed for Ayeyarwady Division and 10 personnel from two hub coordination teams left for Labuta and Wakema. The assessment involves humanitarian needs and damage components: a Village Tract Assessment (VTA) and a Damage and Loss Assessment (DaLA), for which field surveys in the 30 affected townships are planned between 10-19 June. Results from the VTA are expected before the end of June and will feed into a PONJA report and the revised Appeal. The assessment involves personnel from the Government of Myanmar, ASEAN member states, the UN, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, I/NGOs, the Myanmar Red Cross, the private sector and individual volunteers.
4. UN agencies report no major issues with obtaining visas, though in some cases delays of up to ten days have been reported. Overall, 195 visas have been issued to UN staff involved in the ongoing operation as of 10 June. Visas are being extended by the authorities without major obstacles. International NGOs are experiencing greater difficulties, with visa requests in some cases pending for up to three weeks. Despite some problems, it should be noted that several NGOs that have not worked in Myanmar before and do not have a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Myanmar have still been issued with visas. NGO Merlin has received 16 travel authorisations for presence in the affected areas until the end of August. UN staff have been travelling to the Ayeyarwady delta in increasing numbers with Government approval and more than 90 international UN staff have visited the affected-areas as of 9 June (excluding the visit of the UN Secretary General). Some International NGOs report problems in accessing the affected areas, with reports of organizations being turned away at police checkpoints despite proper authorization and, at times, unexplained withdrawals of authorization.
5. The Government of Myanmar’s New Light of Myanmar newspaper reports that 911 foreign aid workers were provided with visas between 5 May and 5 June 2008. 569 people have been authorized to work in the cyclone-affected areas during the same period. 458 visas were reportedly provided to staff from the UN and NGOs, 357 for nationals of ASEAN and neighbouring countries to provide medical assistance and 96 visas for meeting attendees. The newspaper reports that 342 people provided with visas have left Myanmar during this time.
6. The Government of Myanmar’s Minister of Planning briefed UN agencies, Inter-Governmental Organizations and I/NGOS on ‘Guiding Principles for carrying out aid and assistance activities for the cyclone victims’ on 10 June. IASC members have expressed concern that, if followed, it will negatively affect ongoing emergency relief operations. Organizations are to seek approval for their activities from the relevant line Ministry and the Tripartite Core Group (TCG). Visas and importation of relief items are to be authorized by line Ministries and the TCG. Detailed listings of relief supplies and distribution plans are to be shared with line Ministries and Township Coordination Committees. Supplies are to be ‘temporarily kept in Yangon’. Domestic travel arrangements are to be shared with line Ministries and Township Coordination Committees are to be informed of travel arrangements.
7. The Myanmar Cyclone Flash Appeal is appealing for US$201 million for UN agencies and NGOs to meet the most urgent needs. The appeal is 42.6% funded as of 11 June, with firm contributions of US$85 million and a further US$51 million in uncommitted pledges. According to the OCHA Financial Tracking System (FTS) US$168 million has been committed for all relief operations as of 11 June, with a further US$108 million in uncommitted pledges. For updated information on financial contributions please visit the OCHA Financial Tracking System (FTS) website at http://reliefweb.int/fts/. Donors are encouraged to verify contributions and inform FTS of corrections and additional information at firstname.lastname@example.org
8. The New Light of Myanmar newspaper reports that Prime Minister General Thein Sein, who is also the Chairman of the National Disaster Preparedness Central Committee (NDPCC), continues with visits to cyclone-affected areas, visiting Twantay, Kawhmu and Kungyangon townships on 10 June. This follows visits to the Delta by helicopter earlier this week.
9. IFRC reports that the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement has reached more than 250,000 beneficiaries with water, food and other relief items as of 9 June. More than 189,950 of the beneficiaries are located in the Ayeyarwady delta. Approximately 10,000 people per day are being reached. Some 11,000 families in Ayeyarwady division and the four worst-affected townships in the Yangon division have received shelter materials, family kits and hygiene kits in the last week. Distribution of shelter materials is a priority and distribution of more than 7,500 tarpaulins is planned in Kyaiklat, Labutta, Mawlamyinegyun, Nagapudaw and Kungyangon. A total of 915 tonnes of Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement relief supplies have arrived in Yangon by air as of 8 June. There are currently four MRCS warehouses in Yangon and four logistics bases are currently being established at MRCS hubs in Labutta, Bogale, Pathein and Pyapon.
10. The following information is provided by the clusters, which meet regularly to coordinate the humanitarian response of national and international NGOs, the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement and UN agencies. For more detailed up-to-date information relating to cluster activities please visit the Humanitarian Information Centre (HIC) website:
http://myanmar.humanitarianinfo.org. For the latest maps please visit: http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/doc404?OpenForm&emid=TC-2008-000057-MMR&rc=3