Responding to floods in Myanmar

Ye Htwe | August 18, 2015

Ma Aye Win and her daughter. The flood waters have reached their home in Tamalo village and she is preparing to evacuate with her family if needed. Photo: Yoko Ito/CWS

Ma Aye Win and her daughter. The flood waters have reached their home in Tamalo village and she is preparing to evacuate with her family if needed. Photo: Yoko Ito/CWS

I arrived in Tamalo village located in the Ayeyarwady Delta region of Myanmar (Burma) with staff and volunteers last week.  Although the village had already begun to flood, we knew the situation would become much worse with the forecast of more rain in the coming days. CWS is working in the Delta region to educate villagers on emergency preparedness and to provide food and hygiene materials to be used if needed at the designated evacuation center.

CWS partners with the YMCA in Myanmar to educate villagers on disaster risk reduction.  When the flooding began, we knew it would only be a matter of time before our project villages also flooded.  Earlier this year, CWS began working to set up disaster risk reduction committees, so that the communities would be prepared in case of a disaster.

During my time in Tamalo, I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Ma Aye Win, 35, who is married with three children. Her family is dependent on the local fishing industry to provide household income, which during flooding becomes difficult.  Her house is located next to the river and flood waters had already reached her home. She elevated their floor so that she and her children can still sleep at home.  She told me her family would evacuate to the local monastery, a designated evacuation center, by her small boat if necessary.  She shared how she already had clothing and important documents packed if she needs to evacuate. And, she expressed joy that attending a CWS disaster risk reduction education session had helped her plan ahead and get ready for the flood waters.

CWS is working to support 60 target communities affected by the floods.   Together CWS and the YMCA are educating people to mitigate risks related to waterborne diseases and are working to protect vulnerable communities by providing emergency relief.  CWS is ready to support people to rebuild and restore their livelihoods after the flood waters recede.

Ye Htwe is a Program Manager for CWS in Myanmar and is currently helping coordinate the CWS response to the Myanmar floods.


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