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Myanmar flood emergency far from over

As food shortages and health threats loom, Red Cross is stepping up its support for those hit hardest by the floods.

Thursday August 13, 2015

Myanmar Red Cross is helping with evacuations, relief supplies, and first aid. Photo: IFRC

Myanmar Red Cross Society is scaling up its response to the ongoing flood crisis that has so far claimed more than 85 lives and affected at least 440,000 people.
Since the floods began in mid July, more than 500 Red Cross staff and volunteers from all 12 affected regions have been carrying out evacuations as well as providing first aid, relief supplies and clean water. So far, relief has reached more than 50,000 people.

Tragically, a Myanmar Red Cross volunteer died on 9 August during a flood rescue mission that saved 20 people. Father-of-two U Kyaw Kyaw Lyin set off in a boat with three other volunteers, to rescue a group of villagers who were stranded in a local monastery. The Red Cross team brought the group to safety but U Kyaw Kyaw was swept downstream when the riverbank on which he was standing collapsed suddenly.

Myanmar Red Cross mourns his loss, while responding to a rapidly-growing disaster.

Working with partners across the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, Myanmar Red Cross will now support nearly 100,000 people with shelter kits, cash, and health interventions including water and sanitation, livelihoods support and disaster risk reduction. Support will focus on the four worst-affected regions of Rakhine, Magway, Sagaing and Chin.

Day by day the scale and impact of the disaster has become clearer.

More than one million acres of farmland have been inundated and more than 500,000 acres damaged, according to reports from the Ministry of Agriculture, while damaged roads and bridges are hampering the flow of food supplies.

The floods have also impacted health facilities and contaminated water sources, creating conditions that pose a significant threat to the welfare of communities returning to their homes. There are now fresh concerns for communities in the south of the country where further flooding is expected due to the swollen river systems.

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