You haven’t heard much about it on the news because there were so few deaths, but the landslide and flood affected areas in the Chin State province of Myanmar brought on by unremitting monsoons and worsened by Cyclone Komen, has left more than one million people, (one-third of them children) victims of homelessness, disease, and hunger. Medical aid, food, shelter, and emotional support are desperately needed.
Conscience International is on the ground in Kalay, Thamu, and Hakka (the capital) distributing emergency relief items including rice, potatoes, onions, corrugated sheets for housing, and more. Southeast Asia Program Director Richard Sarker and Country Director Thong Lun met the UN’s World Food Program director in Rangoon who offered logistical support and transportation. The team later briefed him on their findings in the affected areas. The emergency situation is not over and will continue for several more months as the heavy rains continue.
“We visited villages that were devastated. Hundreds of people are living in numerous camps in uncertain situations,” Sarker reports. “We distributed 64,200 pounds of rice, 980 pounds of potatoes, 420 pounds of onions, 2000 corrugated metal sheets, 630 pounds of nails, 20 rolls of plastic sheets, and US$2000.00 cash to different camps. We traveled to Thamu and stopped in three different relief distribution spots to distribute rice, potatoes and onions to people who were eagerly waiting for us to arrive with food. We also distributed rice and potatoes in a camp near Thamu town.”
Based on the team's report, Conscience International intends to continue assisting the flood victims over the next few months, concentrating on a crop recovery program to replace seed grain destroyed by the floods. Without agricultural assistance like this, villagers will face loss of income and potential hunger. The program provides seed and seedlings for winter crops, including cash crops like onion, garlic, ginger and others based on local practices.
There are other continuing needs as well, with emergency food relief being the primary one. Reconstruction of roads destroyed by flood/landslide through food for work or cash for work would provide employment opportunities and improve communications. Assistance with housing is essential for those who have lost their homes and are staying in temporary shelter or tents. We welcome partnerships to help in addressing these needs.