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Indonesia: UK Public’s Asian Tsunami legacy still going strong ten years on

17 December 2014 - 10:17pm
Source: Disasters Emergency Committee Country: India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Thailand

The unprecedented £392m donated by the generous UK public to the Disasters Emergency Committee’s Tsunami Earthquake Appeal ten years ago not only provided homes for tens of thousands of people, it helped change the way humanitarian agencies respond to large-scale disasters, the DEC said today.

The large majority of the houses built during the four-year humanitarian response are still in use by survivors and quality homes were pivotal in their recovery, according to a new evaluation of the wider NGO response by the DEC’s sister agency in Switzerland. However, the DEC said that one of the main lessons of the tsunami was the need to help more people rebuild their own homes more quickly but still to a high standard.

Saleh Saeed, Chief Executive of the DEC, said:

“It takes a long time and is very costly for NGOs or governments to plan and build homes for hundreds of thousands or even millions of people after a major natural disaster. DEC agencies provided high quality houses after the tsunami but people had to wait too long for a safe home. The lessons of ten years ago taught us that, in most cases, providing people with training and building materials or cash following a large-scale disaster means that more people can start rebuilding their lives more quickly.”

The new report, an evaluation of the work of Swiss Solidarity’s members, finds that the provision of a house was by far the single largest contribution to livelihood recovery for survivors because it helped them to concentrate on their own income, rather than having to save and invest in rebuilding their homes. There is a significant overlap between the membership of Swiss Solidarity and the DEC which five years ago published its own report on the quality of houses built by its members in Indonesia after the tsunami.

Ten years on, humanitarian agencies can help provide the stability of a decent home in the first year after a disaster. Following the Philippines super typhoon in 2013, DEC agencies at first provided tarpaulins, which are more flexible and cost-effective than tents, but they quickly started providing shelter kits of nails, timber, corrugated iron, ply board and tools.

“Humanitarian agencies were tasked with helping families to replace half a million homes in the Philippines. Our tsunami experience showed it was impossible for us to build such a large number of homes well, quickly and cost effectively. Instead DEC members found ways to help people rebuild their own homes, including by importing high quality roofing iron and employing coconut farmers to turn the fallen trees into lumber. We also provided training to ensure that tradespeople and householders knew some simple and affordable ways to make homes more hurricane resistant.”

“The tsunami response also created a blueprint for the way we involve communities in every aspect of recovery. Consultation and accountability are now central to all our work,” said Saeed.

In the Philippines, some agencies worked with affected people to design their own shelter kits, decide who would receive a kit, provide guidance on how to ‘build back safer’, and set up feedback procedures. Trained community representatives provided technical support and ongoing monitoring for construction.

Cash grants are now often considered the most effective way to support disaster affected communities when appropriate materials are available locally, as this allows people to buy materials locally and more quickly.

The UK public’s donations to the DEC’s Tsunami Earthquake Appeal helped more than 1.8 million people to recover, build businesses and move in to new, safer homes. The greatest percentage of funds was spent on providing people with shelter and close to half was spent in Aceh Indonesia – one of the worst-hit areas – building 13,700 homes, 55 schools and 68 health centres.

In Aceh, more than 2,000 schools were damaged or destroyed by the tsunami. In the immediate aftermath, tents, learning materials and recreation kits were distributed to almost one million children in affected districts enabling schools to reopen one month after the one of the worst disasters of our time. By the end of 2006, almost 750 permanent schools had been repaired.

An assessment by independent construction experts ARUP commissioned by the DEC and published five years ago found that homes, schools and clinics funded by the UK public were of high quality and earthquake resistant.

DEC funds provided loans to fishermen and women so they could get back to work, training to business owners and tools to farmers. Over four years, member agencies also provided clean water and healthcare and helped people prepare for the next disaster.

“The Asian Tsunami was a devastating emergency on a vast scale which pushed the humanitarian community to its limits. We had to work together and coordinate like never before and find new ways to create lasting change. Our combined efforts saved lives and left a legacy of which the UK public can be proud,” Saeed said.

Together DEC agencies responded in seven countries: Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Myanmar, Somalia and the Maldives. Some further examples of their work included:

•Distributing or repairing fishing boats.
•Providing animals such as goats, pigs, cows and buffaloes and creating artificial fishing reefs.
•Setting up education centres, building schools and training teachers.
•Building health centres and setting up more than 100 health camps.
•Providing dental treatment, carrying out eye operations and distributing disability kits.
•Building large scale water systems, drilling bore holes and constructing or repairing latrines.
•Building evacuation centres and developing early warning systems.
•Providing business skills and management training.
•Setting up home gardens, a banana tree nursery, a milk collection centre and a rice mill..

Notes to editors

1.Impact Evaluation of Swiss Solidarity – Asian Tsunami Programme is not an evaluation of DEC member agencies’ work but its findings are likely to apply to the broader international NGO response. The report can be downloaded here..
2.Swiss solidarity together with the DEC is a member of the Emergency Appeals Alliance More information here..
3.Lessons from Aceh was written by ARUP for the DEC. More info here..
4. The DEC brings 13 leading UK aid charities together in times of crisis: ActionAid UK, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief, Oxfam, Plan UK, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision; all collectively raising money to reach those in need quickly..
..

Myanmar: Report to donors for 2013-14

17 December 2014 - 9:38pm
Source: Union Aid Abroad - APHEDA Country: Lebanon, Myanmar, occupied Palestinian territory, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Timor-Leste

In 2013-14, our projects continued to help working men and women in developing countries learn income-generating skills, strengthen their human rights and workplace rights, and provide a better standard of living and greater hope for their children.

View 2013-14 project reports

This years report includes projects that work with refugees on the Thai-Burma border, people living with disabilities in Vietnam, rural teachers in Laos, rural communities in Timor-Leste, entertainment workers in Cambodia, poor farmers in South Africa, Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, and the trade union movement in Fiji.

Contact Details
Union Aid Abroad - APHEDA
Ph: (02) 9264 9343
Fax: (02) 9261 1118
office@apheda.org.au

Indonesia: The Indian Ocean Tsunami, 10 Years On - Lessons from the response and ongoing humanitarian funding challenges

17 December 2014 - 7:01pm
Source: Oxfam Country: India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Thailand

Ten years on and Tsunami response changed lives for good

The humanitarian response to the Indian Ocean Tsunami saved lives and gave people the means to rebuild their futures, Oxfam says today.

The tsunami on Boxing Day ten years ago was unprecedented. It hit 14 countries and affected 5 million people, killing an estimated 230,000 people and making 1.7 million homeless.

An estimated $13.5 billion (£8.6bn) was raised by the international community. Up to 40 per cent was donated by individuals, trusts, foundations and business, making it the highest ever privately funded emergency.

Globally, Oxfam received $294 million (£187m), with over 90 per cent coming from private donors. Most of this (54 per cent) was raised in the UK. Even now, the Disasters Emergency Committee’s tsunami appeal, of which Oxfam is a member, remains the highest total ever raised. Up to 80 per cent of UK households are thought to have contributed to the £392 million donated.

The generous funding meant that Oxfam was able to respond in seven countries – Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, the Maldives, Myanmar, Thailand and Somalia, making it Oxfam’s biggest emergency response ever. The international agency provided emergency water, food and shelter, and then had enough to improve livelihoods over a five-year period.

Mark Goldring, Oxfam GB’s Chief Executive, said: “The British public should be left in no doubt that they were part of an extraordinary life-saving and life-changing effort. Their generosity meant that people who had lost so much in a matter of minutes were able to recover, piece back their lives and today be in a stronger position than hardly anyone dared imagine ten years ago.”

Oxfam and its partners helped an estimated 2.5 million people between 2004 and 2009. In the immediate term, the international agency provided shelter for more than 40,000 people, provided blankets and trucked in clean water. Over the next three years, Oxfam continued to truck more than 300 million litres to Aceh, Indonesia, which was among the hardest hit.

Work from Oxfam and partners included improving or building more than 10,800 wells, 90 boreholes and 55 gravity flow water systems. In Aceh, a municipal system to supply 10,000 people was built and training provided for local communities to maintain it. A return trip to the communities in Aceh earlier this year confirmed that water systems are still running under the eye of local volunteers and that Oxfam’s wider response made a difference to people’s lives.

Oxfam also reached a further 960,000 people to help improve their incomes, either by recruiting people to help with clean-up projects or by restoring livelihoods such as replacing fishing boats, constructing docks in Indonesia and Somalia, improving agricultural practices and replacing livestock. Other work included constructing or repairing 100 schools in Indonesia and Myanmar.

Oxfam was part of a wider humanitarian effort, which succeeded in getting children back to school in all affected countries within the first six months. In that time, about half a million people had been temporarily housed in Aceh, and the fishing industry in Sri Lanka was rapidly rebuilt, with more than 80 per cent of damaged boats, equipment and markets restored and 70 per cent of households back on a steady income. Tourists had also begun returning to Thailand and the Maldives.

The humanitarian sector’s focus to ‘build back better’ means that new infrastructures are more able to withstand natural disasters and the communities can better cope by having access to healthcare and resources. One of the biggest lessons from the tsunami was the need to invest far more in reducing the risk of future disasters. The absence of an early warning system, which could have saved many lives further from the epicentre, has been addressed. The system was put to the test in 2012 following an earthquake in roughly the same location.

The scale of the disaster was not without its challenges and Oxfam and the wider humanitarian sector has learnt a lot from the experience. Different organisations, for example, are now responsible for different aspects of humanitarian responses - such as water and sanitation, logistics and shelter - so that they are more co-ordinated. Oxfam has also looked at streamlining work between different teams and on what it delivers in emergencies: providing safe water and sanitation, public health and livelihoods.

In its report The Indian Ocean Tsunami, 10 Years On, Oxfam outlines how the tsunami response shows what is possible if the funds are made available and assesses why some disasters receive such generous levels of donations compared to others.

It shows that the high level of private funding to the tsunami was due to several factors including it being a sudden, natural disaster as opposed to a man-made one, empathy for those affected, a sense that donations would make a difference, and extensive media coverage. The timing and scale is also thought to have been important.

The tsunami attracted more media coverage in two months than the world’s top 10 ‘forgotten’ emergencies throughout the previous year and was one of the first disasters to be captured as it happened extensively on mobile phones. A study of the relationship between media and donations to US charities for the tsunami response reveals that, on average, during the 100 days following the tsunami, every additional minute of television news coverage from three main broadcast networks increased online donations by 13 per cent on the same day.

The speed of donations for the tsunami response was unique: 80 per cent of Oxfam’s total donations were made in just one month. Oxfam set up a special fund to help manage the funds during the response.

Indonesia: Ten years on and Tsunami response changed lives for good – Oxfam

17 December 2014 - 7:01pm
Source: Oxfam Country: Indonesia, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Thailand

The humanitarian response to the Indian Ocean Tsunami saved lives and gave people the means to rebuild their futures, Oxfam says today.

The tsunami on Boxing Day ten years ago was unprecedented. It hit 14 countries and affected 5 million people, killing an estimated 230,000 people and making 1.7 million homeless.

An estimated $13.5 billion (£8.6bn) was raised by the international community. Up to 40 per cent was donated by individuals, trusts, foundations and business, making it the highest ever privately funded emergency.

Globally, Oxfam received $294 million (£187m), with over 90 per cent coming from private donors. Most of this (54 per cent) was raised in the UK. Even now, the Disasters Emergency Committee’s tsunami appeal, of which Oxfam is a member, remains the highest total ever raised. Up to 80 per cent of UK households are thought to have contributed to the £392 million donated.

The generous funding meant that Oxfam was able to respond in seven countries – Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, the Maldives, Myanmar, Thailand and Somalia, making it Oxfam’s biggest emergency response ever. The international agency provided emergency water, food and shelter, and then had enough to improve livelihoods over a five-year period.

Mark Goldring, Oxfam GB’s Chief Executive, said: “The British public should be left in no doubt that they were part of an extraordinary life-saving and life-changing effort. Their generosity meant that people who had lost so much in a matter of minutes were able to recover, piece back their lives and today be in a stronger position than hardly anyone dared imagine ten years ago.”

Oxfam and its partners helped an estimated 2.5 million people between 2004 and 2009. In the immediate term, the international agency provided shelter for more than 40,000 people, provided blankets and trucked in clean water. Over the next three years, Oxfam continued to truck more than 300 million litres to Aceh, Indonesia, which was among the hardest hit.

Work from Oxfam and partners included improving or building more than 10,800 wells, 90 boreholes and 55 gravity flow water systems. In Aceh, a municipal system to supply 10,000 people was built and training provided for local communities to maintain it. A return trip to the communities in Aceh earlier this year confirmed that water systems are still running under the eye of local volunteers and that Oxfam’s wider response made a difference to people’s lives.

Oxfam also reached a further 960,000 people to help improve their incomes, either by recruiting people to help with clean-up projects or by restoring livelihoods such as replacing fishing boats, constructing docks in Indonesia and Somalia, improving agricultural practices and replacing livestock. Other work included constructing or repairing 100 schools in Indonesia and Myanmar.

Oxfam was part of a wider humanitarian effort, which succeeded in getting children back to school in all affected countries within the first six months. In that time, about half a million people had been temporarily housed in Aceh, and the fishing industry in Sri Lanka was rapidly rebuilt, with more than 80 per cent of damaged boats, equipment and markets restored and 70 per cent of households back on a steady income. Tourists had also begun returning to Thailand and the Maldives.

The humanitarian sector’s focus to ‘build back better’ means that new infrastructures are more able to withstand natural disasters and the communities can better cope by having access to healthcare and resources. One of the biggest lessons from the tsunami was the need to invest far more in reducing the risk of future disasters. The absence of an early warning system, which could have saved many lives further from the epicentre, has been addressed. The system was put to the test in 2012 following an earthquake in roughly the same location.

The scale of the disaster was not without its challenges and Oxfam and the wider humanitarian sector has learnt a lot from the experience. Different organisations, for example, are now responsible for different aspects of humanitarian responses - such as water and sanitation, logistics and shelter - so that they are more co-ordinated. Oxfam has also looked at streamlining work between different teams and on what it delivers in emergencies: providing safe water and sanitation, public health and livelihoods.

In its report The Indian Ocean Tsunami, 10 Years On, Oxfam outlines how the tsunami response shows what is possible if the funds are made available and assesses why some disasters receive such generous levels of donations compared to others.

It shows that the high level of private funding to the tsunami was due to several factors including it being a sudden, natural disaster as opposed to a man-made one, empathy for those affected, a sense that donations would make a difference, and extensive media coverage. The timing and scale is also thought to have been important.

The tsunami attracted more media coverage in two months than the world’s top 10 ‘forgotten’ emergencies throughout the previous year and was one of the first disasters to be captured as it happened extensively on mobile phones. A study of the relationship between media and donations to US charities for the tsunami response reveals that, on average, during the 100 days following the tsunami, every additional minute of television news coverage from three main broadcast networks increased online donations by 13 per cent on the same day.

The speed of donations for the tsunami response was unique: 80 per cent of Oxfam’s total donations were made in just one month. Oxfam set up a special fund to help manage the funds during the response.

//Ends

Indonesia: Ten years on and Tsunami response changed lives for good

17 December 2014 - 7:01pm
Source: Oxfam Country: Indonesia, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Thailand

The humanitarian response to the Indian Ocean Tsunami saved lives and gave people the means to rebuild their futures, Oxfam says today.

The tsunami on Boxing Day ten years ago was unprecedented. It hit 14 countries and affected 5 million people, killing an estimated 230,000 people and making 1.7 million homeless.

An estimated $13.5 billion (£8.6bn) was raised by the international community. Up to 40 per cent was donated by individuals, trusts, foundations and business, making it the highest ever privately funded emergency.

Globally, Oxfam received $294 million (£187m), with over 90 per cent coming from private donors. Most of this (54 per cent) was raised in the UK. Even now, the Disasters Emergency Committee’s tsunami appeal, of which Oxfam is a member, remains the highest total ever raised. Up to 80 per cent of UK households are thought to have contributed to the £392 million donated.

The generous funding meant that Oxfam was able to respond in seven countries – Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, the Maldives, Myanmar, Thailand and Somalia, making it Oxfam’s biggest emergency response ever. The international agency provided emergency water, food and shelter, and then had enough to improve livelihoods over a five-year period.

Mark Goldring, Oxfam GB’s Chief Executive, said: “The British public should be left in no doubt that they were part of an extraordinary life-saving and life-changing effort. Their generosity meant that people who had lost so much in a matter of minutes were able to recover, piece back their lives and today be in a stronger position than hardly anyone dared imagine ten years ago.”

Oxfam and its partners helped an estimated 2.5 million people between 2004 and 2009. In the immediate term, the international agency provided shelter for more than 40,000 people, provided blankets and trucked in clean water. Over the next three years, Oxfam continued to truck more than 300 million litres to Aceh, Indonesia, which was among the hardest hit.

Work from Oxfam and partners included improving or building more than 10,800 wells, 90 boreholes and 55 gravity flow water systems. In Aceh, a municipal system to supply 10,000 people was built and training provided for local communities to maintain it. A return trip to the communities in Aceh earlier this year confirmed that water systems are still running under the eye of local volunteers and that Oxfam’s wider response made a difference to people’s lives.

Oxfam also reached a further 960,000 people to help improve their incomes, either by recruiting people to help with clean-up projects or by restoring livelihoods such as replacing fishing boats, constructing docks in Indonesia and Somalia, improving agricultural practices and replacing livestock. Other work included constructing or repairing 100 schools in Indonesia and Myanmar.

Oxfam was part of a wider humanitarian effort, which succeeded in getting children back to school in all affected countries within the first six months. In that time, about half a million people had been temporarily housed in Aceh, and the fishing industry in Sri Lanka was rapidly rebuilt, with more than 80 per cent of damaged boats, equipment and markets restored and 70 per cent of households back on a steady income. Tourists had also begun returning to Thailand and the Maldives.

The humanitarian sector’s focus to ‘build back better’ means that new infrastructures are more able to withstand natural disasters and the communities can better cope by having access to healthcare and resources. One of the biggest lessons from the tsunami was the need to invest far more in reducing the risk of future disasters. The absence of an early warning system, which could have saved many lives further from the epicentre, has been addressed. The system was put to the test in 2012 following an earthquake in roughly the same location.

The scale of the disaster was not without its challenges and Oxfam and the wider humanitarian sector has learnt a lot from the experience. Different organisations, for example, are now responsible for different aspects of humanitarian responses - such as water and sanitation, logistics and shelter - so that they are more co-ordinated. Oxfam has also looked at streamlining work between different teams and on what it delivers in emergencies: providing safe water and sanitation, public health and livelihoods.

In its report The Indian Ocean Tsunami, 10 Years On, Oxfam outlines how the tsunami response shows what is possible if the funds are made available and assesses why some disasters receive such generous levels of donations compared to others.

It shows that the high level of private funding to the tsunami was due to several factors including it being a sudden, natural disaster as opposed to a man-made one, empathy for those affected, a sense that donations would make a difference, and extensive media coverage. The timing and scale is also thought to have been important.

The tsunami attracted more media coverage in two months than the world’s top 10 ‘forgotten’ emergencies throughout the previous year and was one of the first disasters to be captured as it happened extensively on mobile phones. A study of the relationship between media and donations to US charities for the tsunami response reveals that, on average, during the 100 days following the tsunami, every additional minute of television news coverage from three main broadcast networks increased online donations by 13 per cent on the same day.

The speed of donations for the tsunami response was unique: 80 per cent of Oxfam’s total donations were made in just one month. Oxfam set up a special fund to help manage the funds during the response.

Myanmar: Govt Delays Aid Distribution in Northern Burma: UN

17 December 2014 - 6:46am
Source: Irrawaddy Country: Myanmar

By LAWI WENG / THE IRRAWADDY

RANGOON — As winter approaches in northern Burma’s Kachin State, some 27,500 internally displaced persons (IDPs) are without necessary assistance such as blankets and clothes, according to the United Nations.

In a monthly aid bulletin, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that the “volatile security situation and bureaucratic delays” have prevented UN convoys from being authorized to travel into rebel territory, where they regularly deliver aid to IDPs.

The bulletin said that UN convoys have been unable to reach some cross-line areas since September, and called for regular, sustained humanitarian access to all persons affected by the conflict.

The latest UN data estimates that 98,000 people remain displaced in parts of Kachin and northern Shan states, three years after a ceasefire between the government and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) broke down.

OCHA said that some 50,000 are still displaced in areas that are not under government control. Of the estimated 27,000 people that are currently inaccessible, about 12,000 are “particularly vulnerable” children, the bulletin said. Those unreachable communities are located near KIA headquarters in Laiza and east of Bhamo.

Pierre Péron, a spokesperson for OCHA, told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday that some aid from local organizations is reaching the IDPs, but there have been no UN cross-line missions since September. The United Nations is currently working with the government and local NGOs to ensure that aid will be delivered to all people in need, whether they are in IDP camps or host communities.

“International organizations support and supplement the activities of local NGOs by providing assistance and technical support through cross-line convoys. These cross-line convoys are cleared through administrative procedures involving both the Myanmar [Burma] authorities and the KIO [the political arm of the KIA], and we are currently waiting for the finalization of this process,” said Péron.

An emergency aid coordinator based in Muse, on the border with China, told The Irrawaddy that local NGOs are planning an emergency meeting to discuss solutions for food and other shortages.

“Our aid convoy could get to the 105-mile gate [still within government territory], but the Burma Army wouldn’t let our mobile team carry the aid inside to distribute it to displaced people,” said Zau San, who works with the Kachin Baptist Convention. “This is the policy of the Burma Army. They want to restrict aid for refugees.”

Conflict continues in Kachin and Shan states between the government and a number of ethnic armed groups. Two of the area’s largest armed groups, the KIA and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, are the only major non-state armies that have yet to secure bilateral ceasefires with the government as it aims to reach a nationwide peace pact.

The government cited sporadic clashes near a road leading to Bhamo as the impetus for several artillery “warning shots” that landed on a KIA military academy near Laiza in November. The blast, which the government said was not intended to target the academy, killed 23 cadets.

The OCHA bulletin proposed a US$192 million budget to provide assistance for the some 240,000 people currently displaced by communal conflict and civil war throughout Burma.

Myanmar: Overview of the Oct. 2014 3W for South East of Myanmar (Bago (East), Kayah, Kayin, Mon, Shan (East), Shan (South) and Tanintharyi)

16 December 2014 - 9:46pm
Source: Myanmar Information Management Unit Country: Myanmar

The MIMU 3W gathers inputs from participating agencies on Who is doing What, Where across Myanmar. It is currently conducted every 6 months.

189 agencies participated in the October 2014 3W, providing information on their activities in 19 sectors and 142 sub-sectors which have been defined by technical/sector working groups. There is still likely to be under-reporting of the specific activities of field-based local NGOs and CBOs.

This overview of the 3W results in the South East of Myanmar (SE) covers activities reported in Bago (East), Kayah, Kayin, Mon, Shan (East), Shan (South) and Tanintharyi.

The following tables and chart describe projects under implementation as of November 3, 2014. Further information on planned and recently completed projects is available from the 3W dataset, published on the MIMU website and through the MIMU 3W Dashboard which shows agencies’ activities to Township level.

The South East of Myanmar comprises 84 Townships, 2,471 Village tracts and 16,608 Villages (as per the MIMU Place Codes). GPS coordinates have been obtained for 61% of these villages in the SE (10,109 villages) through agencies’ active support to the MIMU Place Code initiative. Efforts continue to confirm GPS coordinates for the remaining 6,499 villages. Chaungzon, Thanbyuzayat, Mudon and Ye Townships have the best rates of village mapping (availability of GPS coordinates), while Shwegyin, Hpapun and Kyunsu Townships have the lowest level of mapped villages.

Agencies were found to be active in all 84 of townships throughout the South East and the activities coverage at Village Tract level is 71% (1,760 village tract) and at Village level is 31% (5,585 villages).

Myanmar: Myanmar: Overview of the Oct 2014 3W for Kayin State

16 December 2014 - 9:33pm
Source: Myanmar Information Management Unit Country: Myanmar

The MIMU 3W gathers inputs from participating agencies on Who is doing What, Where in Myanmar. It is currently conducted every 6 months.

189 agencies participated in the Oct 14 3W, providing information on their activities in 19 sectors and 142 sub-sectors which have been defined by technical/sector working groups. There is still likely to be under-reporting of the specific activities of field-based local NGOs and CBOs.

This overview of the reported 3W results in Kayin describes projects under implementation as of November 3, 2014. Further information on planned and recently completed projects is available from the 3W dataset, published on the MIMU website or available through our offices.

Myanmar: Kachin villagers isolated as military tensions escalate

16 December 2014 - 4:36pm
Source: Democratic Voice of Burma Country: Myanmar

Villages in Kachin State have been cut off from their local town, Hpakant, amid rising tensions between the Burmese government military and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).

Dashi Laseng, the Hpakant township chairman of the National League for Democracy, said residents from Jar Yar Yang village about eight miles southeast of the town have been unable to reach Hpakant or other local villages since 14 December.

“We received complaints from the villagers that their movements have been restricted due to a rise of tensions between the [Burmese] Army and the KIA. These villagers make their living by selling farm products in the Hpakant town, so if they can’t go their produce will become overripe,” said Dashi Laseng.

“We are planning to wait a little longer, and if this restriction of movement is not lifted we will speak to government authorities.” He also said noted that villagers who went to Hpakant before the restriction was in place are stranded in the town and unable to go home.

Other villages in the region have been affected in similar ways, such as Kan Si village west of Hpakant and Lone Khin being isolated since 18 November.

Dashi Laseng said the Burma Army and KIA troops have dug themselves in on opposing banks of the Uru Creek, which has made many locals too scared to travel through the area.

Both the Burma Army and KIA were unavailable for comment.

San Aung, a broker in the peace talks between the government and the KIA said: “There have been tensions rising in the Hpakant area and villagers often subjected to movement bans. The [government] should not make the villagers’ lives difficult, especially when there is already distrust looming about the ongoing peace process and doing so may provoke undesirable issues.”

The government and the KIA held their last round of talks in the beginning of October 2014 and agreed to reduce hostilities

World: Global Emergency Overview Snapshot 10-17 December

16 December 2014 - 10:07am
Source: Assessment Capacities Project Country: Afghanistan, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, Ukraine, World, Yemen

Snapshot 10–16 December

Iraq: 700,000 IDPs, mostly in Dahuk and Anbar governorates, are living in shelters that are not adapted for winter temperatures. 945,000 IDPs are in dire need of kerosene for heating.

Afghanistan: Kabul has been hit by at least 12 suicide attacks since early November, with more attacks also carried out elsewhere, fuelling concerns about the protection of civilians.

Philippines: 3.8 million people across nine regions have been affected by Typhoon Hagupit. Nearly 157,000 are in evacuation centres, 38,000 homes have been destroyed. Emergency preparedness helped mitigate the impact of the typhoon.

Updated: 16/12/2014. Next update: 06/01/2015

Global Emergency Overview Web Interface

Myanmar: Myanmar: Humanitarian Bulletin, Issue 11 | 1 – 30 November 2014

16 December 2014 - 5:48am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Myanmar

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Thousands of vulnerable people are at risk in areas beyond Government control in Kachin as cross-line missions remain stalled

  • Mines continue to pose serious risks to civilians, including children, in Kachin and northern Shan states

  • Displaced women and girls in northern Shan are exposed to violence and trafficking

  • IDPs and isolated communities in Rakhine need safe access to fuel and energy

Key FIGURES

People displaced in Rakhine State 139,000

People displaced in Kachin and northern Shan States 98,000

People displaced in Meiktila, Mandalay region 3,300

FUNDING

192 million requested (US$)

51% funded

Myanmar: Drug-resistant malaria: The world's next big health crisis?

16 December 2014 - 4:18am
Source: Reuters - AlertNet Country: Myanmar

MIN SAW, Myanmar, Dec 16 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Ka Lar Nar caught malaria for the sixth time when he was working away from home on his small farm in the jungle of south-eastern Myanmar but this time it was a lot harder to get rid of it.

After testing positive for malaria he got a three-day course of drugs from a community health volunteer in his village but even though his fever subsided, he continued to be plagued by headaches and another test still showed positive results.

Read the full report on AlertNet.

Myanmar: Ethnic Alliance to Meet With Govt to Discuss Attack, Ceasefire

15 December 2014 - 10:53pm
Source: Irrawaddy Country: Myanmar

By LAWI WENG

RANGOON — A representative of an alliance of ethnic armed groups said they have agreed to hold a high-level meeting in Rangoon with Minister Aung Min next week in an effort to resume Burma’s stalled nationwide ceasefire process.

“We have a plan to meet … before Christmas. We did not yet set a date but we will meet in Yangon,” said Khun Okkar, a senior member of the National Ceasefire Coordination Team, which represents an alliance of 16 ethnic armed groups.

The meeting will be an important moment for the sides to assess if they can resolve the fallout of a Burma Army surprise attack on the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) on Nov. 19, when the military fired a number of artillery rounds into the grounds of a KIA training camp near Laiza where dozens of young cadets were exercising.

The attack injured more than a dozen cadets and killed 23, most of them from rebel groups allied to the KIA, such as the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the Arakan Army.

The KIA subsequently cancelled its monthly meetings in Myitkyina with the Burma Army and alleged the army had not made an effort to properly explain the attack.

Khun Okkar said the NCCT expected answers over the attack from Aung Min and army representatives during the upcoming meeting, adding that the minister had only touched upon the incident in a recent letter to the NCCT.

“He gave some explanations in his letter, but not enough. We are not satisfied with his statement. Therefore, we decided to have a meeting as we wanted to talk more about this,” Khun Okkar said. “We will ask more questions and negotiate with them [about the nationwide ceasefire] at the meeting.”

Tensions in northern Burma have risen since the attack, and clashes between the army and Kachin, Palaung and Kokang rebels have become increasingly frequent. In recent months, the nationwide ceasefire process had already hit a deadlock as differences over key issues, such as political autonomy for ethnic regions, could not be bridged.

Khun Oo Reh, vice-chairman of the Karenni National Progressive Party and a NCCT member, said the government and army were obliged to offer an explanation for last month’s deadly attack before the nationwide ceasefire process could resume.

“We could not ignore the case of killings in Laiza. We could not focus only having meeting without solving the case of killings. We need to find a solution for this,” he said.

“For our ethnics’ side… I feel that we made a lot of compromises with them already, which cannot do that anymore” after the attack, said Khun Oo Reh.

Thailand: Thailand: Clean Up Klity Creek

15 December 2014 - 9:07pm
Source: Human Rights Watch Country: Myanmar, Thailand

Confront Toxic Legacy Before Reopening Lead Mines

(Bangkok, December 16, 2014) – The Thai government has failed to clean up toxic lead in a stream in western Thailand, threatening hundreds of families with serious and irreversible health problems, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Supreme Administrative Court’s order nearly two years ago to clean up Klity Creek, the first of its kind in Thailand, has been ignored by the government while villagers remain exposed to lead in water, soil, vegetables, and fish.

The 32-page report, “Toxic Water, Tainted Justice,” describes 16 years of failure by Thailand’s Pollution Control Department and public health authorities to prevent further exposure to lead among the village’s ethnic Karen residents. A 12-minute video accompanying the report highlights serious health and environmental damage caused by a now-defunct lead processing factory, as well as the efforts by local residents to seek justice. Many residents of Lower Klity Creek village suffer the symptoms of chronic lead poisoning, such as abdominal pain, headaches, fatigue, and mood changes. Some children have been born with severe intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“The Thai authorities apparently believe they can ignore a clear court order to clean up the toxic site,” said Richard Pearshouse, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch and author of the report. “This is one of the most heavily polluted industrial sites in all of Thailand, hundreds of people suffer harm, and it needs immediate government action.”

On January 10, 2013, Thailand’s highest administrative court ordered the government to clean up toxic lead in the creek until test results from the water, soil, vegetables, and aquatic animals in and around the creek fall below permissible levels. Although clean-up activities should have begun by May 1, 2014, Thailand’s Pollution Control Department says it is still studying how to clean up the creek.

Lower Klity Creek villagers may be exposed to lead in their daily lives – by drinking water or eating fish and other aquatic animals, by eating food grown in lead-contaminated plots or cooked in lead-contaminated water, by contact with polluted soil around their houses, or breathing air contaminated by lead dust. The Pollution Control Department’s environmental tests found unacceptably high levels of lead in soil along the creek bank, as well as in the water and creek sediment, and contaminating fish, shrimp, crabs, and vegetables at various locations along the creek.

Despite this catastrophe, in 2011, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment commissioned an environmental assessment of lead mines in Kanchanaburi province, raising the possibility of Thailand reopening and further developing lead mining and the lead industry.

“The Thai government seems to be ignoring the lessons from the pollution of Klity Creek and the poisoning of villagers,” Pearshouse said. “Thailand should clean up Klity Creek and provide medical care to affected villagers before even thinking of expanding lead mining.”

(Video: Toxic Water, Tainted Justice in Thailand)

The response by provincial and district public health authorities to the situation has been wholly inadequate, Human Rights Watch said. Many village residents who were tested did not receive the results of their blood tests. Others were told the lead levels in their blood were “safe” despite international guidance that there is no safe level of lead exposure. Children who had elevated lead levels did not receive follow-up medical care. Many villagers told Human Rights Watch that public health authorities simply stopped performing local blood tests for lead by 2008.

Lead is highly toxic and can interrupt the body’s neurological, biological, and cognitive functions. The ingestion of high levels of lead can cause brain, liver, kidney, nerve, and stomach damage as well as anemia, comas, convulsions, and even death. Children and pregnant women are particularly susceptible, and high levels of lead exposure can cause permanent intellectual and developmental disabilities, including reading and learning disabilities, behavioral problems, attention problems, as well as hearing loss and disruption in the development of visual and motor functioning.

As a result of increasing industrialization and mineral extraction, Thailand faces rising concerns about health impacts from pollution in numerous sites around the country, including Na Nong Bong in Loei province (cyanide, mercury, and arsenic), Mao Tao in Tak province (cadmium), Pitchit province (manganese and arsenic), and near the Map Tha Phut industrial area in Rayong province (industrial chemicals).

Thailand has ratified core international human rights conventions and a range of environmental treaties. These place obligations on governments to protect the environment, safe drinking water, and the health of its citizens, with a special emphasis on children and other vulnerable groups, including women, people with disabilities, and indigenous people. Thailand’s National Health Act also provides that everyone has the right to a healthy environment. In international law, the rights to the highest attainable standard of health and to water also entail the right to an effective remedy for violations of these rights.

“The Thai government needs to stop ignoring the court order and set out a clear, defined plan with a specific timeline to comply,” Pearshouse said. “A thorough clean-up of Klity Creek could help Thailand create a model for cleaning up the many places where extreme industrial pollution damages human health.”

“Toxic Water, Tainted Justice” is available at: http://features.hrw.org/features/HRW_2014_reports/Toxic_Water_Tainted_Justice/index.html

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Thailand, please visit: http://www.hrw.org/asia/thailand

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on health and human rights, please visit: http://www.hrw.org/topic/health

World: Tsunami: Walking the Last Mile Together on Early Warning

15 December 2014 - 4:16am
Source: UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific Country: India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, World

On 26 December 2004, the world experienced the Indian Ocean Tsunami, one of the deadliest natural disasters ever recorded. At an event held at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand last week, panelists took stock of the progress made in building greater resilience to disasters in Asia-Pacific, and also highlighted outstanding gaps and priorities for the way forward.

“Ten years after the Indian Ocean Tsunami, much has been done to fill gaps in risk reduction, disaster preparedness and early warning systems,” stated Ms. Shamika N. Sirimanne, Director, Information and Communications Technology and Disaster Risk Reduction Division, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

Ms. Sirimanne noted that a key lesson from the 2004 Tsunami was the importance of early warning, and highlighted the establishment of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System in 2011 as an important milestone to which ESCAP had contributed through its Trust Fund for Tsunami, Disaster and Climate Preparedness.

Asia-Pacific remains highly disaster prone, despite progress being made in building resilience. Critical gaps remain in early warning and additional investments are required particularly at the local level. “Reaching the most vulnerable people and remote communities at the ‘last mile’ with timely warnings is critical,” added Ms. Sirimanne. “An efficient end-to-end system is yet to be realized.”

Ms. Kanchana Patarachoke, Deputy Director-General, Department of International Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thailand stated that Thailand had come a long way over the past ten years and that the experience of the 2004 Tsunami had taught countries to be prepared and to invest more in disaster prevention.

Mr. David Oberhuber, Country Director, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH echoed the need for additional investments in disaster preparedness, and highlighted Thailand as a good example of a country that had greatly strengthened its resilience at the local level since 2004.

The panel discussion opened with the screening of the video, 'Tsunami: Walking the Last Mile'. The Tsunami video and b-roll package will also be made available to broadcasters ahead of the December 26th commemoration.

About the ESCAP Trust Fund for Tsunami, Disaster and Climate Preparedness

ESCAP plays a significant role in galvanizing regional efforts, promoting new technologies and supporting early warning projects through its Trust Fund for Tsunami, Disaster and Climate Preparedness.

The Trust Fund was established in 2005 through a founding contribution of US$ 10 million from the Government of Thailand. Applying a multi-hazard approach, it supports the development of an integrated regional early warning system. Since 2005, eight donors have joined the Trust Fund, providing contributions totaling US$ 13.8 million.
The Trust Fund has made important contributions to the establishment of effective regional mechanisms such as the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System and the Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia (RIMES), as well as to the strengthening of warning systems at the national and local levels. Since 2010, it has also supported early warning for multiple coastal hazards, including typhoons and storm surges.

Myanmar: Myanmar Humanitarian Response Plan 2015

15 December 2014 - 12:02am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Myanmar

SUMMARY

Goal and Strategic objectives

The overarching goal of this strategy is to support the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and local communities to ensure that the lives, dignity and well-being of persons affected by conflict and disaster are protected.

To achieve this goal, the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) has agreed on the following strategic objectives for humanitarian action in 2015:

  1. Ensure that the life-saving protection and assistance needs of people affected by conflict and/or disasters are met;

  2. Ensure that people affected by conflict and/or disasters have equitable access to basic services and livelihoods opportunities;

  3. Enhance the resilience of communities to conflict and natural disasters and contribute to early recovery and durable solutions

Parameters of the response

The 2015 Humanitarian Response Plan is one component of a much broader engagement by the United Nations and its partners in Myanmar that includes a wide range of peace-building, recovery and longer-term development activities.

In 2015, the United Nations and its partners will continue to focus on assisting the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and local communities to ensure that all crisis-affected people in the country receive the assistance and protection they need, irrespective of their ethnicity, nationality, religion or gender, in accordance with humanitarian principles. While focusing primarily on meeting the needs of the most vulnerable, humanitarian organizations will work to ensure that there is equitable access to basic services and livelihoods opportunities for all people. Further efforts will also be made to support the Government and communities to achieve durable solutions for displaced people and to support inclusive early recovery and resilience efforts to enhance people’s self-reliance and independence.

The United Nations and its partners will also continue to engage in emergency preparedness activities as Myanmar is considered to be one of the countries at highest risk of natural disasters in South East Asia. There is an on-going need for disaster risk reduction and activities aimed at strengthening national capacity to prepare for and respond to natural hazards.

The Humanitarian Country Team estimates that there are 540,700 people affected by conflict or inter-communal violence in Myanmar who are in need of protection and assistance (1 per cent of the country’s total population of 51.4 million). The Humanitarian Country Team plans to target 536,400 of these people who have been assessed as the most vulnerable in 2015. The remaining 4,300 are displaced or resettled people in the Meikhtila area of Mandalay Region, whose needs are being addressed by the Government, as agreed with the Government in 2013. Of those targeted by the Humanitarian Country Team in 2015, 416,600 people are in Rakhine State and 119,800 are in Kachin and northern Shan states.

In the case of south-eastern Myanmar, the humanitarian and development needs of displaced people, most of whom have been displaced for many years, are covered through a separate durable solutions framework that is beyond the scope of this Humanitarian Response Plan.

KEY HUMANITARIAN ISSUES

  1. Prolonged displacement resulting from on-going intercommunal tensions and unresolved armed conflict

  2. Unequal and inadequate access to basic services and livelihoods opportunities

  3. Challenges in finding durable solutions for the displaced

  4. Building resilience and preparing for new emergencies