YANGON, Myanmar, 3 August 2015 – Vulnerable children in Myanmar face a ‘double catastrophe’ as floods add to the hardship faced by children living in poverty and those recovering from violence and conflict, UNICEF has warned. Myanmar has suffered from severe weather for weeks, with winds and rains from Cyclone Komen that made landfall in Bangladesh on 30 July, adding to the damage in recent days..
According to the Myanmar Government, 36 people have died and over 200,000 people across the country are in need of lifesaving assistance. 12 out of Myanmar’s 14 states and regions have been affected by the rains. The Government has declared natural disaster zones in four regions – Chin, Magwe, Sagaing and Rakhine. Information on the number of people affected in the worst affected states, including Rakhine, is still limited, as assessment teams have been unable to reach affected Townships due to flooding, road blockages and landslides.
“The floods are hitting children and families who are already very vulnerable, including those living in camps in Rakhine State,” UNICEF Deputy Representative in Myanmar Shalini Bahuguna said. “Beyond the immediate impact, the floods will have a longer term impact on the livelihoods of these families.”
The Government of Myanmar is leading the response, and UNICEF together with other UN agencies is working closely with the Myanmar authorities to assess the urgent needs of children and provide support. The organisation has dispatched assessment teams to affected areas which can be reached, to identify the priority needs of children and families in terms of water and sanitation, health care, and nutrition.