Myanmar: UNDP survey shows food and income shortfalls

10 Nov 2010

UNDP survey shows food and income shortfalls for cyclone-hit population


Daw Aung Khin Oo from Minbya Township
shows her damaged house. (Photo: UNDP)
Sittwe
– Preliminary estimates from rapid assessments of villages in western Myanmar affected by Cyclone Giri last month show widespread destruction of food sources and livelihoods.

According to assessments by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), as much as half of the rice fields in Rakhine State’s worst affected areas were destroyed. At least 7,500 fish-farming households lost aquaculture ponds and boats that cost between US$20 and US$70 each to replace.

Some 260,000 people were affected by the 22 October cyclone, with 71,000 homeless and more than 17,000 hectares of agricultural land estimated destroyed, according to UNDP assessments.
“My plantation was destroyed and I don’t have the money left to buy food or housing materials,” said Daw Aung Khin Oo, one Rakhine resident who lost all her belongings in the 200 km/hour winds.

In much of Rakhine State, rice can be grown only once a year and is an essential part of the local economy. The crop provides employment for landless labourers, and both cash and food for the farmers who cultivate between two and five acres of land each.

“Our priority is to reach all people in need with relief assistance in close coordination with the Government, regional authorities and humanitarian organizations on the ground,” said Bishow Parajuli, UN Resident / Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative. “At the same time we prepare for the substantial input needed over time to rebuild communities.”

UNDP will launch income-generating activities in partnership with local nongovernmental organizations to give households financial support for repair of damaged houses, reclaiming of paddy fields, cleaning of water sources and wells, embankment repair, and fish farming.

Within 24 hours of the cyclone’s landfall, UNDP and partners began distributing food and other relief items to nearly 1,600 households in Rakhine State’s worst affected townships: Kyaukpyu, Minbya, Pauktaw, Munaung and Myebon.

UNDP has been implementing its Human Development Initiative projects since 1994 and currently covers 443 villages in Rakhine State’s eight townships. In these locations it focuses on basic livelihood needs such as income generation and food security, and water and sanitation.