Myanmar: More than 170,000 people affected by cyclone Giri

27 Oct 2010

Lessons were learned from Cyclone Nargis
in 2008.
(Photo: UNDP)

Myanmar - Efforts to assess the full scale and extent of humanitarian need in Myanmar continue after a category-four cyclonic storm last week hit the country’s western coast, affecting more than 170,000 people.

An estimated 177,000 people and 71 villages in Rakhine State were affected by Cyclone Giri that made landfall on 22 October. Official media reported a total of 27 deaths in the affected area.

While local infrastructure was severely damaged, major loss of life was reportedly avoided due to early-warning alerts and large-scale evacuation carried out by the Government and the Red Cross ahead of the cyclone’s impact.

“Good lessons have been learned from Cyclone Nargis [in 2008]…as evidenced by the advance deployments, evacuations from high-risk areas and distribution of relief to affected villages,” said Bishow Parajuli, United Nations Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator.

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) - along with the UN’s refugee agency, World Food Programme, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and international and national non-governmental organizations - has mobilized Myanmar-based staff to carry out rapid assessment and coordination efforts.

Rakhine State’s most affected townships are Kyaukpyu, Minbya, Pauktaw, Munaung and Myebon. UNDP’s area coordination office has been operational in the state capital Sittwe for more than 14 years, with project offices in Minbya and Kyauktaw.

UNDP’s Sittwe office and transportation facilities are being used to support inter-agency coordination and cyclone recovery work, with priority activities currently focusing on sectors such as shelter, water-sanitation, food and health.

“The UN and its partners are ready to scale up support, and we urge the authorities to facilitate continued access to the affected areas for both international and national staff as was done in the case of Cyclone Nargis,” said Parajuli.