5 August 2015
Devastating flash floods in south Asia have made tens of thousands of people homeless, as heavy monsoon rains sweep away buildings, roads and bridges across the region. ActionAid Myanmar is rapidly mobilising teams to help those impacted by the crisis. So far, these teams have already provided emergency support to 1,500 of the most vulnerable people, by supplying them with food, water, purifying tablets, medicine and clothes.
It's estimated that 200,000 people have been affected by the floods in Myanmar, and tragically 46 people have died. Although the monsoon floods are expected at this time of year, the exceptionally high levels of rain have meant that areas normally safe from the floods are now underwater.
Communities living in these 'dry zones' have been taken by surprise, and our colleagues on the ground have witnessed entire villages disappear beneath the floods.
ActionAid on the ground in Myanmar
As well as providing emergency support, ActionAid Myanmar is helping to relocate communities at risk to safe temporary shelters on higher ground. They are also relocating livestock, a vital source of income for many people. Our teams have been working with communities since mid-July 2015 to prepare for such a disaster, learning lessons from past floods including cyclone Nargis in 2008.
ActionAid is also providing early warning support to the Irrawaddy Delta – one of the most densely populated areas of Myanmar - to relocate and rescue people and animals. The Irrawaddy Delta is known for its rice production, which is currently half way through being harvested. The destruction of rice crops is set to damage the whole Myanmar economy, and push up the price of this food staple.
What will happen next?
The rainy season in Myanmar usually lasts between August and September, so our team on the ground fears the worst as the wet season has only just begun and the rain from the high hills has yet to roll down into the valleys.
Water-borne diseases are now a risk due to the large volumes of water in many parts of the country. The floods are likely to leave agricultural land covered with very thick mud, which could delay the growing season for years.
We are monitoring the situation very closely, and will continue to provide support to communities who need it the most.