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Myanmar: Powerful quake hits Myanmar, damaging famed Bagan temples

24 August 2016 - 7:26am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Myanmar

Yangon, Myanmar | AFP | Wednesday 8/24/2016 - 17:08 GMT

by Hla-Hla HTAY

A powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck central Myanmar Wednesday, killing at least three people and damaging nearly 200 pagodas in the famous ancient capital of Bagan, officials said.

The quake, which the US Geological Survey said hit at a depth of 84 kilometres (52 miles), was also felt across neighbouring Thailand, India and Bangladesh, sending panicked residents rushing onto the streets.

Two girls, aged 7 and 15, were killed in Magway region where the quake struck, according to Myanmar's Ministry of Information.

A collapsed building in a nearby town also killed a 22-year-old man and injured one woman, local police told AFP.

Heavy damage was also reported in Bagan -- Myanmar's most famous archaeological site and a major tourist destination 30 kilometres north of the quake's epicentre.

Some 171 of the city's more than 2,500 Buddhist monuments were damaged by the tremors, according to a statement posted by the Ministry of Religious and Cultural Affairs on Facebook.

"Some were seriously damaged," Aung Kyaw, the local director of Bagan's culture department, told AFP.

Photos showed clouds of dust billowing around some of the site's larger temples, with bricks crumbling down their tiered facades.

A police officer from Bagan said a Spanish holidaymaker was slightly hurt when the quake knocked her from the temple where she was watching the sunset.

Scaling Bagan's ancient structures to watch the sun set over the vast plain of pagodas is a daily ritual among tourists and local pilgrims.

The temples, built between the 10th and 14th centuries, are revered in the Buddhist-majority country and a top draw for its growing tourism industry.

Myanmar, which has opened its doors to a rising tide of visitors since emerging from junta rule in 2011, is eager to see the ancient capital designated a UNESCO world heritage site.

  • 'Still scared' -

Soe Win, a local politician from Chauk -- the riverside town closest to the epicentre -- said the tremors were the worst he had experienced in years.

"More than eight pagodas in town collapsed," the 50-year-old told AFP, referring to Chauk. "Two buildings collapsed as well, while some others were cracked. People in town are still scared."

Damage was also reported in the capital Naypyidaw some 200 kilometres away, with MP Thiri Yadanar posting photos on Facebook of cracked glass windows inside a parliament building.

The earthquake caused high-rise buildings in Myanmar's largest city Yangon to sway, as well as those in the Thai capital Bangkok and the Indian city of Kolkata.

"Services of the underground railway have been suspended fearing aftershocks of the quake," Kolkata Metro Railway spokesman Indrani Banerjee told AFP.

The quake was also felt throughout south and southwestern Bangladesh close to the border with Myanmar, with residents running outside.

At least 20 people were injured as workers tried to flee a building in the Savar industrial district outside Dhaka, ATN Bangla television reported.

"All of us ran to the streets leaving the houses and shops unsecured as the quake seemed very dangerous," Nazmus Sakib, from the southern city of Chittagong near the Myanmar border, wrote on his Facebook wall.

Earthquakes are relatively common in Myanmar, although the country has not suffered a major one since 2012.

That powerful tremor -- also of 6.8 magnitude -- struck the centre of the country, killing 26 people and injuring hundreds.

bur/ssm/kb

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

Bangladesh: Lessons in disaster: children taught to prepare for Bangladesh's killer quakes

24 August 2016 - 4:21am
Source: Guardian Country: Bangladesh, India, Myanmar

When earthquakes strike in south Asia, thousands of children are at risk from fragile school buildings. Evacuation drills are aiming to reduce the potential death toll.

As soon as the school bell rang, Lucky Akhter, 15, dropped down on her knees and took cover under a bench. When a second bell rang, she and 30 other students walked out of the classroom, joining a queue of about 300 students covering their heads with books and bags.

Read the full report on the Guardian.

Myanmar: Establishment of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State

24 August 2016 - 1:08am
Source: Government of Myanmar Country: Myanmar

Ministry of the Office of the State Counsellor released a press release today. Following is the full text of the press release.

The Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, committed to finding lasting solutions to the complex and delicate issues in the Rakhine State, will establish an Advisory Commission on Rakhine State. A Memorandum of Understanding is to be signed between the Ministry of Office of the State-Counsellor and the Kofi Annan Foundation.

The nine-member Advisory Commission, a national initiative to resolve protracted issues in the region, will be chaired by former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Chairman and Founder of the Kofi Annan Foundation and noble laureate, Mr. Kofi Annan and will be composed of (3) international and (6) national persons of Eminence who are highly experienced, respected and neutral individuals. The commission members are :

• U Win Mra, Chair of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission

• Dr. Thar Hla Shwe, President of Myanmar Red Cross Society

• Mr. Ghassan Salame’, Lebanese Minister of Culture (2000-2003), UN Special Advisor to Secretary-General (2003-2006)

• Ms Laetitia van den Assum, Special Advisor to the UNAIDS (2005-2006), the Netherlands’ Ambassador to the United Kingdom (2012-2015)

• U Aye Lwin, Core Member and Founder of Religious for Peace, Myanmar

• Dr. Mya Thida, President of Obstetrical and Gynecological Society of MMA, Member of the Myanmar Academy of Medical Science

• U Khin Maung Lay, Member of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission

• Daw Saw Khin Tint, Chairperson (Rakhine Literature and Culture Association, Yangon) and Vice-Chairperson (Rakhine Women Association)

The Commission will consider humanitarian and development issues, access to basic services, the assurance of basic rights, and the security of the people of Rakhine.

The Commission will undertake meetings with all relevant stakeholders, international experts and foreign dignitaries to hear their views and to analyze relevant issues with a view to finding the best possible solutions to prevailing problems. The Commission will consider humanitarian and development issues, access to basic services, the assurance of basic rights, and the security of the people of Rakhine. The Commission will undertake assessments and make recommendations by focusing on conflict prevention, humanitarian assistance, rights and reconciliation, institution building and promotion of development of Rakhine State. It will also examine international aspects of the situation, including the background of those seeking refugee status abroad.

After wide consultations, the Commission will submit its findings and recommendations to the Government of Myanmar through the State Counsellor and thereafter publish its report within twelve months of its establishment.

Ministry of the Office of the State Counsellor

World: GIEWS Update: Southeast Asia Flood Situation - 22 August 2016

23 August 2016 - 10:35am
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Country: Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, World

Food security concerns for large numbers of people in several Asian countries following severe localized monsoon floods

Highlights:

  • Severe localized floods during the first half of the 2016 monsoon season have affected large numbers of people, causing deaths and injuries, loss of livestock and food supplies, and damage to housing and infrastructure
  • While the severe floods have had large negative impacts, the above-average rains helped alleviate dryness in areas affected by El Niño in the 2015/16 agricultural season, beneffitting planting and early development of the 2016 main season crops
  • Although some severe localized crop losses are likely in several countries, overall production prospects for the 2016 main season remain positive in the subregion

Southeast Asia is prone to floods during the monsoon season that normally extends from late May to September. This year, however, above-average monsoon rains,coupled with a succession of typhoons and tropical storms from June to early August, have caused severe localized floods in several countries in the subregion, resulting in the loss of hundreds of lives, displacement of millions of people and much damage to agriculture and infrastructure. Losses of livestock, stored food and other belongings have also been reported. Affected countries include Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. While the severe floods have had large negative impacts, abundant rains brought relief to areas affected by the El Niño-induced dryness during 2015/16 agricultural season (see Figure 1).

The floods occurred when the 2016 main season cereal crops, mainly paddy and maize, had just been planted or were still being sown. A comprehensive evaluation of the flood damage is not yet available, but early-planted crops in lowland areas are likely to have been affected the most. However, although severe localized crop losses are likely in several countries, the overall impact on the 2016 main season crop in the subregion is expected to be limited, as the above- average rains have been beneficial overall for planting operations and early crop development in most countries.

Furthermore, current forecasts point to a 55-60 percent likelihood of La Niña manifesting during the last quarter of the year, with a slightly lower chance that the onset may occur during August-October. As La Niña is historically associated with increased rains in some parts of the subregion, this could benefit the 2016 main season crop development and improve water reservoir levels for the 2016 irrigated secondary season crop in Northern Hemisphere countries.

In Southern Hemisphere countries, La Niña may prove beneficial for the ongoing 2016 secondary season crop and planting of the 2017 main crop. As such, and assuming no major setbacks during the remainder of the season, FAO’s current outlook for the 2016 cereal crops in the subregion is positive. However, close monitoring is warranted, particularly considering that abundant precipitation related to La Niña could also raise the potential for flooding in parts.

India: GIEWS Update: Southeast Asia Flood Situation - 22 August 2016

23 August 2016 - 10:35am
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Country: Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka

Food security concerns for large numbers of people in several Asian countries following severe localized monsoon floods

Highlights:

  • Severe localized oods during the rst half of the 2016 monsoon season have a ected large numbers of people, causing deaths and injuries, loss of livestock and food supplies, and damage to housing and infrastructure
  • While the severe floods have had large negative impacts, the above-average rains helped alleviate dryness in areas a ected by El Niño in the 2015/16 agricultural season, bene tting planting and early development of the 2016 main season crops
  • Although some severe localized crop losses are likely in several countries, overall production prospects for the 2016 main season remain positive in the subregion

Southeast Asia is prone to floods during the monsoon season that normally extends from late May to September. This year, however, above-average monsoon rains,coupled with a succession of typhoons and tropical storms from June to early August, have caused severe localized floods in several countries in the subregion, resulting in the loss of hundreds of lives, displacement of millions of people and much damage to agriculture and infrastructure. Losses of livestock, stored food and other belongings have also been reported. Affected countries include Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. While the severe oods have had large negative impacts, abundant rains brought relief to areas affected by the El Niño-induced dryness during 2015/16 agricultural season (see Figure 1).

The floods occurred when the 2016 main season cereal crops, mainly paddy and maize, had just been planted or were still being sown. A comprehensive evaluation of the ood damage is not yet available, but early-planted crops in lowland areas are likely to have been a ected the most. However, although severe localized crop losses are likely in several countries, the overall impact on the 2016 main season crop in the subregion is expected to be limited, as the above- average rains have been beneficial overall for planting operations and early crop development in most countries.

Furthermore, current forecasts point to a 55-60 percent likelihood of La Niña manifesting during the last quarter of the year, with a slightly lower chance that the onset may occur during August-October. As La Niña is historically associated with increased rains in some parts of the subregion, this could benefit the 2016 main season crop development and improve water reservoir levels for the 2016 irrigated secondary season crop in Northern Hemisphere countries.

In Southern Hemisphere countries, La Niña may prove beneficial for the ongoing 2016 secondary season crop and planting of the 2017 main crop. As such, and assuming no major setbacks during the remainder of the season, FAO’s current outlook for the 2016 cereal crops in the subregion is positive. However, close monitoring is warranted, particularly considering that abundant precipitation related to La Niña could also raise the potential for ooding in parts.

World: GMDAC Data Briefing Series Issue no. 4, August 2016: Dangerous journeys - International migration increasingly unsafe in 2016

23 August 2016 - 8:51am
Source: International Organization for Migration Country: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, El Salvador, Gambia, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Iraq, Italy, Libya, Mali, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Senegal, Spain, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, United States of America, World

Germany - As the number of migrant deaths worldwide continues to rise significantly, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 23 per cent more migrant deaths during the first half of 2016 compared with the same period in 2015.

The latest IOM GMDAC Data Briefing, “Dangerous Journeys,” released on Tuesday 23 August, was prepared by the International Organization for Migration’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) in Berlin. It takes an in-depth look at the available global figures for migrant deaths and disappearances during the first half of 2016.

The data collected by Missing Migrants Project indicate that the number of people who go missing or die in the process of migration has increased significantly since 2014, especially in the Mediterranean region. The increase can partly be attributed to improving data collection. However, it also speaks to the level of risk associated with attempting to migrate by irregular means across international borders in 2016, as well as the desperation that motivates people to take these migration journeys.

“In the first six months of 2016, worldwide more than 3,700 people went missing or lost their lives,” said GMDAC Director Frank Laczko. “This is a 23 percent increase compared to the same time period in 2015, and a 52 percent increase for the same time period in 2014.”

Dr. Laczko explained this dramatic change can be attributed to a higher number of recorded migrant fatalities in the Mediterranean Sea, North Africa, the Middle East and the Horn of Africa. “Worldwide, the Mediterranean Sea continues to greatly outweigh other regions in terms of the number of people who are recorded missing and/or dead during the process of migration,” he said. “Of the recorded deaths from January to June 2016, 78 percent (2,901) were in the Mediterranean. This compares with 60 percent during the same period in 2015.”

As in 2015, the majority of people who died or went missing in the Mediterranean Sea in the first six months of 2016 were lost in the Central Mediterranean. In the first half of 2016, 1 in 24 migrants died attempting the Central Mediterranean crossing, compared with 1 in 400 on the eastern route.

The high rate of death in the Central Mediterranean compared to other routes is due to two main factors: the significantly longer overseas journey; and more dangerous smuggling strategies. Crossing from North Africa to Italy via the Central Mediterranean is a journey of several hundred kilometres, compared to the dozen or so required to travel the eastern or western routes. Additionally, boats used in the Central Mediterranean are significantly larger than those used on the eastern route.

Migration through Central America, which extends from Panama through Mexico, has led to 43 recorded deaths by various means in the first six months of 2016, and it is likely that more go uncounted. Once migrants reach the border with the United States, they must cross dangerous natural terrain, which has led to at least 161 deaths in the first half of 2016.

Poverty and the fear of detection at official border crossings have long motivated migrants to illegally hop onto freight trains, collectively referred to as “La Bestia” (the beast), as they make their way through Mexico towards the United States. Journeys are notoriously dangerous, with frequent reports of assault, maiming and death from falling off the trains.

However, since the implementation of the Mexican Programa Frontera Sur in July 2014, Missing Migrants Project data indicate that train-related deaths in this region have declined. So far in 2016, 37 per cent of the migrant deaths recorded in Central America were caused by migrants being hit by or having fallen off a train, as opposed to the same period in 2015, when 60 per cent of the recorded deaths were train-related.

Nevertheless, because of the shift to more clandestine means of travel through Central America, such as by foot or hidden in vehicles, when death does occur during migration, there is a higher chance that migrants will not be found immediately, if at all.

The challenges involved in the collection of data and the identification of those who die during migration are also examined in the data briefing. There are significant gaps in knowledge on the location and context of migrant deaths globally, and the numbers recorded by Missing Migrants Project are considered to be vastly underestimated. Nevertheless, even if the numbers are an informed estimate, what before was vague and ill-defined is now a quantified tragedy that must be addressed.

For further information, please contact Frank Laczko at IOM GMDAC in Berlin. Tel. +49 30 278 778 11, Email: gmdac@iom.int

Myanmar: Myanmar: Puta-O Township - Shelter/NFI/CCCM Cluster Camp Profiling: Kachin & Northern Shan States - Data collection Period: Apr - Jun 2016

23 August 2016 - 7:35am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, CCCM Cluster, Shelter Cluster Country: Myanmar

Myanmar: Myanmar: Myitkyina Township - Shelter/NFI/CCCM Cluster Camp Profiling: Kachin & Northern Shan States - Data collection Period: Apr - Jun 2016

23 August 2016 - 7:34am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, CCCM Cluster, Shelter Cluster Country: Myanmar

Myanmar: Myanmar: Momauk Township - Shelter/NFI/CCCM Cluster Camp Profiling: Kachin & Northern Shan States - Data collection Period: Apr - Jun 2016

23 August 2016 - 7:33am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, CCCM Cluster, Shelter Cluster Country: Myanmar

Myanmar: Myanmar: Mohnyin Township - Shelter/NFI/CCCM Cluster Camp Profiling: Kachin & Northern Shan States - Data collection Period: Apr - Jun 2016

23 August 2016 - 7:31am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, CCCM Cluster, Shelter Cluster Country: Myanmar

Myanmar: Myanmar: Mogaung Township - Shelter/NFI/CCCM Cluster Camp Profiling: Kachin & Northern Shan States - Data collection Period: Apr - Jun 2016

23 August 2016 - 7:30am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, CCCM Cluster, Shelter Cluster Country: Myanmar

Myanmar: Myanmar: Mansi Township - Shelter/NFI/CCCM Cluster Camp Profiling: Kachin & Northern Shan States - Data collection Period: Apr - Jun 2016

23 August 2016 - 7:29am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, CCCM Cluster, Shelter Cluster Country: Myanmar

Myanmar: Myanmar: Hpakant Township - Shelter/NFI/CCCM Cluster Camp Profiling: Kachin & Northern Shan States - Data collection Period: Apr - Jun 2016

23 August 2016 - 7:26am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, CCCM Cluster, Shelter Cluster Country: Myanmar

Myanmar: Myanmar: Chipwi Township - Shelter/NFI/CCCM Cluster Camp Profiling: Kachin & Northern Shan States - Data collection Period: Apr - Jun 2016

23 August 2016 - 7:24am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, CCCM Cluster, Shelter Cluster Country: Myanmar

Myanmar: Myanmar: Bhamo Township - Shelter/NFI/CCCM Cluster Camp Profiling: Kachin & Northern Shan States - Data collection Period: Apr - Jun 2016

23 August 2016 - 7:12am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, CCCM Cluster, Shelter Cluster Country: Myanmar

Robert Church CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP047
Lisu Boarding-House CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP049
AD-2000 Tharthana Compound CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP050
Mu-yin Baptist Church CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP051
Htoi San Church CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP052
Yoe Kyi Monastery CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP053
Nant Hlaing Church CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP054
Ta Gun Taing Monastery (Shwe Kyi Na) CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP055
Phan Khar Kone CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP193
Aung Thar Church CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP194

Myanmar: Myanmar: Waingmaw Township - Shelter/NFI/CCCM Cluster Camp Profiling: Kachin & Northern Shan States - Data collection Period: Apr - Jun 2016

23 August 2016 - 7:08am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, CCCM Cluster, Shelter Cluster Country: Myanmar

Qtr. 2 Myoma Baptist Church CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP025
Qtr. 4 Monestry (Thargaya Thayett Taw) CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP026
Mading Baptist Church CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP027
Hkat Cho CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP028
Maina Catholic Church (St. Joseph) CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP029
Qtr. 3 Mu-yin Baptist Church CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP030
Maina AG Church CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP031
Qtr. 2 Lhaovo Baptist Church CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP032
Nawng Hee Village CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP033
Thargaya Lisu Baptist Church CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP037
Waingmaw AG Church CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP038
Maina Lawang Baptist Church CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP039
Maina KBC (Bawng Ring) CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP040
Shing Jai CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP041
Zai Awng / Mung Ga Zup CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP111
Border Post 8 CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP113
Hkau Shau (BP 12) CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP115
Woi Chyai CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP116
Maga Yang CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP119
Pajau / Jan Mai CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP120
Post 6 Camp CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP160

Myanmar: Myanmar: Shwegu Township - Shelter/NFI/CCCM Cluster Camp Profiling: Kachin & Northern Shan States - Data collection Period: Apr - Jun 2016

23 August 2016 - 7:03am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, CCCM Cluster, Shelter Cluster Country: Myanmar

Shwe Gu Baptist Church CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP067
Shwe Gu Catholic Church CP_Pcode : MMR001CMP068

Myanmar: Myanmar: Namtu Township - Shelter/NFI/CCCM Cluster Camp Profiling: Kachin & Northern Shan States - Data collection Period: Apr - Jun 2016

23 August 2016 - 7:00am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, CCCM Cluster, Shelter Cluster Country: Myanmar

Nam Tu Baptist CP_Pcode : MMR015CMP014

Myanmar: Myanmar: Namhkan Township - Shelter/NFI/CCCM Cluster Camp Profiling: Kachin & Northern Shan States - Data collection Period: Apr - Jun 2016

23 August 2016 - 6:58am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, CCCM Cluster, Shelter Cluster Country: Myanmar

Nam Hkam (KBC Jaw Wang) CP_Pcode : MMR015CMP001
Nam Hkam Catholic Church ( St. Thomas I) CP_Pcode : MMR015CMP003
Nam Hkam - Nay Win Ni (Palawng) CP_Pcode : MMR015CMP004
Nam Hkam (KBC Jaw Wang) II CP_Pcode : MMR015CMP214
Namhkan - Pang Long KBC CP_Pcode : MMR015CMP215

Myanmar: Myanmar: Muse Township - Shelter/NFI/CCCM Cluster Camp Profiling: Kachin & Northern Shan States - Data collection Period: Apr - Jun 2016

23 August 2016 - 6:56am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, CCCM Cluster, Shelter Cluster Country: Myanmar

Muse Baptist Church CP_Pcode : MMR015CMP213
Muse Catholic Church CP_Pcode : MMR015CMP216