Myanmar - ReliefWeb News

Syndicate content
ReliefWeb - Updates
Updated: 10 min 5 sec ago

Myanmar: Police fire on Myanmar protesters, 1 dead, 20 hurt - reports

22 December 2014 - 9:20pm
Source: Reuters - AlertNet Country: Myanmar

Source: Reuters - Mon, 22 Dec 2014 13:01 GMT

By Jared Ferrie and Aung Hla Tun

YANGON, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Myanmar police fired on protesters near a mine at the centre of a long-running land dispute on Monday, killing one person and wounding 20 others, media reports said, as the China-linked company announced plans to expand the project.

Read the full article on Reuters - AlertNet.

Myanmar: Top Ethnic Leaders, Burma Army Reps Absent From Ceasefire Talks

22 December 2014 - 8:40pm
Source: Irrawaddy Country: Myanmar

By LAWI WENG

RANGOON — Burma Army representatives and top leaders of ethnic armed groups are not attending the two-day nationwide ceasefire talks in Rangoon this week, a situation that indicates just how much the negotiations have suffered following the army’s surprise attack on a rebel training school last month.

The government’s chief negotiator, Minister Aung Min, led a delegation that included Border Affairs Minister Lt-Gen. Htet Naing Win and Immigration Minister Khin Ye, but Burma Army representatives were conspicuously absent as the sides convened at the Myanmar Peace Center (MPC) in Rangoon on Monday morning.

The National Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT), an alliance representing 16 ethnic groups, sent NCCT representatives Khun Okkar and Kwe Htoo Win to the meeting, but NCCT Chairman Nai Hong Sar and Gen. Gun Maw, the influential deputy commander-in-chief of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), did not attend. Neither did leaders from the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA).

It was the first high-level meeting since September when NCCT leaders, Aung Min and the military met in Rangoon. At the time, hopes for a quick breakthrough to reaching a nationwide ceasefire began to fade as the sides were unable to bridge differences over key issues, such as political autonomy and federalism for ethnic states.

Trust between the sides was shattered when on Nov. 19 the Burma Army fired a number of artillery rounds into the grounds of a KIA training camp where dozens of young cadets were exercising. The surprise attack injured more than a dozen cadets and killed 23, most of them from rebel groups allied to the KIA, such as the TNLA and the Arakan Army.

In recent months, deadly armed clashes between the Burma Army and the KIA, TNLA and Kokang ethnic militia have become more frequent in northern Shan State. The three rebel groups all lack bilateral ceasefires with the government.

The NCCT representatives had stressed prior to this week’s meeting that the issue of the attack should be properly explained by the government and army before discussions could move on to nationwide ceasefire talks.

On Monday, they repeated their demands. “We wanted to ask for the formation of a commission [to investigate the shelling] and hold a meeting to negotiate this agreement, which could involve every leader who was involved in the [shelling] case in Laiza,” said Kwe Htoo Win, who is also the Karen National Union general secretary.

“By negotiating this issue, it will help the peace talks … It would open the door for future discussions for having a nationwide ceasefire accord,” he said. “Our NCCT will not skip discussions on this issue and we will confront it to find a solution.”

Aung Min said in his opening remarks at the meeting that the shelling incident in Laiza shows that much work remains to be done to strengthen existing bilateral ceasefires between ethnic groups and the government, and that a nationwide ceasefire is needed to achieve peace and stability.

“We cannot solve conflicts if we could not reach a nationwide peace agreement,” said Aung Min, adding that there is a need to resume nationwide ceasefire negotiations so that they can be completed ahead of the general elections in late 2015.

Hla Maung Shwe, a senior government advisor at the MPC, told The Irrawaddy that the Burma Army was absent because of the NCCT’s demands that the shelling incident is addressed before the nationwide ceasefire issue.

“The army wanted to join the meeting, but from the ethnics’ side they said they just wanted to have a framework meeting first. This is why U Aung Min informed [the military] not to come,” he said.

Nyo Ohn Myint, another MPC advisor, said the army did not join because the NCCT did not send its top leaders. “From their side, they did not let their top leaders come. So, we could not arrange to have our top leaders from the army join. This is protocol.”

KIA commander Gun Maw told The Irrawaddy last week that resolving the Nov. 19 incident was a critical step towards re-building trust and resuming ceasefire talks. “We are trying to have negotiations to solve this issue,” he said.

Additional reporting from Chiang Mai by Nyein Nyein.

Myanmar: Red Cross launches safety apps in Burma

22 December 2014 - 8:30pm
Source: Democratic Voice of Burma Country: Myanmar

The Myanmar National Red Cross Society has released two mobile phone apps in Burmese which provide natural-disaster warnings and step-by-step instructions for administering first-aid.

The mobile apps – First Aid App and Multi Hazard App – are available to download free of charge on Google Play Store for android mobile phones and tablets, the Burma Red Cross announced at its workshop on Saturday.

“In case of medical emergency, mobile users through the First Aid App can find step-by-step first aid instructions for relevant emergencies, which can greatly ensure the survival of a patient and prevent loss of life due to lack of first-aid knowledge,” said Shwe Zin Myint, director general of the Myanmar National Red Cross Society.

She said the Multi Hazard App will provide users tips about safety and preparations for natural disasters such as floods, storms and earthquakes, and that in the future it will also provide warnings for oncoming disasters.

The apps were developed with assistance from the American Red Cross and released on 27 September.

The Myanmar National Red Cross Society was formed in 1937.

World: Ten years after Asian tsunami, the region is better prepared to cope with disasters

22 December 2014 - 3:48am
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization Country: Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Maldives, Myanmar, Philippines, Seychelles, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Viet Nam, World

But more needs to be done to further enhance resilience

22 December 2014, Bangkok/Rome - Ten years after the world's worst natural disaster in living memory roared across the shorelines of South and Southeast Asia, countries in the region are better prepared to deal with tragedies like the Indian Ocean Tsunami, but there is still room for improvement, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today.

In December 2004 the tsunami claimed the lives of more than two-hundred thousand people and left the livelihoods of some 1.4 million survivors in tatters, when it damaged or destroyed fields, fish ponds, boats, fishing gear and livestock upon which entire food production systems depended.

In many cases, entire fishing communities were obliterated - as was coastal agriculture - the tsunami's powerful waves smashed fishing boats and even tossed large trawlers far inland, set to rest where animals once grazed and rice and vegetables had grown.

"A decade later, while events marking the remembrance of the tsunami recall the human tragedy, FAO examines the lessons learned in mitigating damage to agricultural livelihoods, food security and nutrition wrought by such natural and climatic events," said Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific.

"What we and our member countries have learned and now see in place is impressive, but there is still more that can and should be done to prevent and mitigate disasters," he added.

Asia-Pacific region most vulnerable to natural and climate-induced disasters

During the ten year period from 2003 to 2013, some 200 million people in Asia and the Pacific were affected each year by natural disasters ranging from the 2004 tsunami to cyclones, floods and typhoons. During roughly the same period (2001 - 2010), the cost of these disasters for the region averaged $34 billion each year.

While some member countries worst affected by the Indian Ocean Tsunami are now better prepared for disasters before they strike and better positioned to respond after they do, a recent FAO-sponsored workshop with ASEAN members stressed additional actions that are needed to further increase resilience to disasters.

The workshop concluded that the effects of rapid population increases and urbanization, coupled with an eroded natural resource base and climate change, mean climate-induced events pose the highest risk for the ASEAN region.

Among its recommendations, the workshop called for the greater involvement of all sectors of agriculture, livestock, fisheries, aquaculture and forestry - especially key critical productive sectors in which progress must be bold - in building pro-active national and regional policy processes for disaster risk reduction and management (DRR/M). A clear financial commitment is needed to promote capacity development in DRR/M in the various sector's line agencies.

Improved data disaggregation on sectors and livelihoods affected and better risk assessments and monitoring should be made a priority. The workshop also urged countries to go beyond natural hazards when addressing risk exposure and vulnerabilities of farmers, fishers and forest dependent communities, and consider other threats like degradation of environmental and marine ecosystems degradation. The transfer of risk reduction knowledge and technology to local level is required to empower those most vulnerable and most at risk.

Much has been learned - and implemented

Prior to the tsunami, actions by countries were reactive rather than proactive, with a focus on life-saving, then recovery. Since then, there has been a paradigm shift toward the equal importance of anticipative, multi-hazard risk reduction with prevention and mitigation of natural disasters given equal importance.

Early disaster warning systems and clearly marked tsunami evacuation routes are evident in some countries such as Thailand which, following the tsunami, established the Department of National Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.

"It's clear that many countries in the region are now better prepared to reduce the risks and mitigate the damage of natural disasters such as tsunami and typhoons and protect their agriculture and food systems," said Konuma. "The most recent example is Typhoon Hagupit that struck the Philippines earlier this month, where the authorities' early warnings to farmers and fishers to take pre-emptive action helped ensure that the damage would be far less severe than a year earlier when Typhoon Haiyan ripped through the centre of the country."

Other countries in the ASEAN region have taken action on disaster risk reduction and disaster risk mitigation. In the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, flood protection dykes have been built and there is a nationwide early warning system for flooding. In 2010, the Prime Minister of Lao People's Democratic Republic issued a Decree on the National Strategy on Climate Change. In Viet Nam, a law on Natural Disaster Prevention and Control has been passed and in 2007 a national strategy for natural disaster prevention, response and mitigation was developed.

FAO's responses

Like other organizations, FAO was quick to respond to the needs of affected countries following the 2004 tsunami. Thanks to the generous contribution of its resource partners, FAO implemented a large emergency and recovery response programme to support the government of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Maldives, Myanmar, Seychelles and Somalia.

FAO's technical expertise focused on protecting, restoring and enhancing the agriculture-fisheries-based livelihoods of the affected coastal communities. This support primarily targeted the replacement of lost assets while at the same time promoting the wise use of natural resources, helping to avoid restoring the pre-tsunami overfishing capacity in Aceh-Indonesia and in Sri-Lanka, and further depletion of the fish stock.

In the Maldives, FAO worked with local authorities to help islanders recover from salt-water contaminated soil that killed many fruit trees - while fish and coconuts were still available, this loss of fruit was a serious threat to nutrition.

FAO, together with its partners, helped fishers and farmers to rebuild their livelihoods better than before, strengthening both their resilience and the local economies.

World: Operational Plan 2011-2016 Asia Regional Team Updated December 2014

22 December 2014 - 1:45am
Source: Department for International Development Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, World

Context

Despite reasonable growth rates, the Asia Pacific region is home to 743 milliion people living on less than $1.25 per day, and 1.6 billion on less than $2 per day (40% of the population) (UNESCAP 2013). The core countries of the Asia Regional Programme are among those with the worst poverty rates in Asia (e.g. 76%, 60% 53% on less than $2 per day in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal respectively). The development challenges are complex and multidimensional – with significant economic, political, social and environmental drivers.

The entire region is climate vulnerable. In South Asia alone, more than 750 million people - 50% of the population in Asia - were affected by at least one natural disaster over recent years, resulting in 230,000 deaths and US $45 billion in damage (Asia Development Bank, 2010). Girls and women face substantive discrimination, violence and limited opportunities, as do lower caste, religious, ethnic, and other minorities – often meaning people are unable to benefit from economic growth. For many communities geographic isolation, conflict, and discriminatory institutions and social norms exacerbate exclusion from services, jobs and development opportunities. Trade and investment across the region is constrained by poor transport and energy infrastructure, and inadequate cross-border connections. Increasing numbers of poor people are living in urban areas (often in informal settlements) and face substantial challenges, with difficult living conditions and limited rights. The poorest are more susceptible to under-nutrition, early and forced marriage, communicable diseases and the risk of maternal death. Poverty also drives people to take jobs in other countries where they can be exploited and have few legal rights.

Working regionally to improve impact

Some of DFID’s largest country programmes are in Asia – including Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal and Burma, with smaller bilateral investments in Central Asia, and a climate-focused programme in Indonesia. The bilateral programme in India ends in 2016, moving to a relationship of technical cooperation/returnable capital, and DFID Vietnam closes the same year.

The purpose of the Asia Regional Programme (ARP) is to complement these country programmes in order to improve the impact of frontline delivery. Working regionally can create the conditions that unlock progress on regional constraints to poverty reduction, and unleash potentially large development benefits for example by enhancing trade between countries in the region or improving how joint natural resources are managed. Regional programming can also pilot new approaches and build the evidence base needed to leverage much larger investments from the private sector, multilaterals and national governments.

The Programme focuses on:

(a) issues with a clear cross-border dimension (e.g. trade);
(b) regional public goods – where action in one part of the region has a much wider positive impact (e.g. tackling climate change); and/or
(c) where working in two or more countries brings economies of scale and other advantages (e.g. nutrition).

The Asia Regional programme also has capacity to respond quickly to regional programming needs as they arise, such as UK investment in reconstruction and climate change resilience in the Philippines following typhoon Haiyan.

Myanmar: Program on public health and emergency management launched in Myanmar

21 December 2014 - 9:06pm
Source: Asian Disaster Preparedness Center Country: Myanmar

Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar

The program launch and the first national introductory course of the Public Health and Emergency Management Program in Asia and the Pacific (PHEMAP) was held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. The introductory course was conducted on 8–12 December 2014 under the guidance of Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) with funding support from the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The PHEMAP Program in Myanmar is conducted in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. There were 27 participants in the PHEMAP introductory course representing 15 regions or states under the Department of Health of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement and the WHO Country Office Myanmar.

Dr. Min Than Nyunt, Director General of the Department of Health opened the event as the chief guest. In his opening remarks, Dr. Min emphasized the importance of the PHEMAP training program in Myanmar in protecting the people from the consequences of disasters. He shared the experiences of Myanmar during the tsunami in 2004 and Typhoon Nargis in 2008 that significantly affected 27 townships in the country resulting in 85,500 people killed and more than 2.4 million people affected.

Other guests in the opening ceremony included Dr. Soe Lwin Nyein, Deputy Director General and Dr. Win Naing, Director of the Center for Epidemiology of the Department of Health. Ms. Angeliki Parasyraki, Country Manager of ADPC in Myanmar delivered the welcome remarks on behalf of ADPC.

The goal of the PHEMAP program is for Myanmar to adapt and institutionalize the course taking into consideration its national context and addressing the country's specific needs in developing the capacity of heath emergency managers.

"I come from an area where we often have wild fires. Only this year more than ten people have died. Now, after the PHEMAP training, I will be able to draft an emergency preparedness plan for the community. Many people will benefit from that," commented a medical assistant from the Bago State participating the training.

Thailand: Myanmar migrants haunted by memory of tsunami missing in Thailand

20 December 2014 - 10:59pm
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Myanmar, Thailand

Ban Nam Khem, Thailand | AFP | Sunday 12/21/2014 - 03:34 GMT

by Preeti JHA

A decade after towering waves wrenched her newborn baby from her arms, Mi Htay remains haunted by memories of the children she lost in the tsunami whose bodies, like hundreds of other Myanmar migrants in Thailand, were never identified.

No one knows exactly how many foreign labourers died when the tsunami cut into southwestern Thailand as most lacked official work permits and their relatives did not come forward in the days and weeks after the December 26, 2004, disaster fearing arrest or deportation.

An estimated 2,000 migrants from neighbouring Myanmar are thought to have perished, deaths that went almost unnoticed as the television cameras focused on foreign tourists and Thai victims.

Among them were Mi Htay's eight-day-old baby -- too young even to have been given a name -- two of her other children, both toddlers, as well as her mother and a nephew.

Despite the aching reminders of her loss, Mi Htay returned around a year later to the small coastal village of Ban Nam Khem, in Thailand's worst-hit Phang Nga province, in search of work in the area's fisheries.

"When I am working, I can forget what happened," the now 40-year-old told AFP, pointing out the spot where the waves pulled her newborn away from her grasp.

"But when I see other families with their children going to eat, I feel so sad. If they were alive, we would be like that. I can't forget it for one day."

In 2006 Mi Htay -- whose two oldest children survived the disaster -- was informed that the bodies of her mother and nephew had been identified as part of what was, at the time, the biggest global forensic investigation.

The Indian Ocean tsunami, which was sparked by the third-largest earthquake on record, claimed more than 220,000 lives in one of the world's deadliest and most geographically widespread disasters.

More than 3,000 bodies were identified and returned to families across the world by Thai and international experts in the years after the tsunami using dental records, DNA or fingerprints.

But Mi Htay's three missing children were not among them.

"I presume they are dead. But maybe they are alive as they haven't found the bodies. Maybe they are with other people. I keep thinking like that," she said.

  • Migrants return -

Other than a small sign in Thai pointing to a nearby evacuation shelter, there is little evidence of the tsunami that wiped out nearly half of the village's 5,000 people.

The sparsely furnished apartments Myanmar nationals rent from Thais have been rebuilt and the pier is bustling with migrants sliding bucket-loads of freshly-caught fish off boats and into factories, where workers like Ma Mee Htay gut fish for around $10 a day.

There are more migrant labourers in Phang Nga province than before the tsunami and now most are registered, says Htoo Chit, director of the Foundation for Education and Development charity.

An estimated two million Myanmar nationals work in Thailand, where they make up part of a vast migrant labour force often working in low-paid jobs and poor conditions, subject to exploitation.

Htoo Chit recalls the difficulty in identifying the decomposing bodies of undocumented victims with no official records, a problem compounded by the mass deportation of over 2,500 migrants in the aftermath of the tsunami.

"Most of them (the deported) lost their relatives. They didn't want to come back to Thailand again to claim the dead," he said.

Htoo Chit estimates around 1,000 Myanmar migrants were killed or missing in Phang Nga alone. Human Rights Watch estimates the overall figure at some 2,000 for all six tsunami-hit Thai provinces.

Some of these deaths are accounted for in Thailand's official toll of 5,395. The national police forensic department has recorded around 400 people still missing, a quarter from Myanmar.

  • Remains finally returned -

At the nearby Bang Muang cemetery, 369 bodies lie unidentified beneath concrete headstones labelled simply with serial numbers on laminated cards. Authorities believe the majority are Myanmar nationals but have no DNA samples to check against.

The remains of a further 49 Thai nationals lie identified but unclaimed.

At the far end of the graveyard, an empty stainless steel coffin serves as a reminder of the scaled back -- but still ongoing -- operation to return corpses.

Up until last month it had been the resting place of Nepali tailor Rajan Dhaurali, whose body was identified through a DNA match with his sister two years after he died in neighbouring Khao Lak.

But, without the documents to show he was a Myanmar national, like others in his family who hold Myanmar passports but are Nepali by origin, police refused to release the body, according to the Phuket Thai-Nepali Association.

It helped track down Dhaurali's children and the documents required to retrieve the remains after it was alerted to the case by media outlets ahead of the tsunami anniversary.

At the house where she now works as a live-in nanny in Patong town, his daughter Depa, 20, said her family's deep grief was tinged with relief after finally cremating their father in November.

"I couldn't believe it after 10 years... It felt bad, but in some ways it's a relief. I would like to find my sister and mother too," Depa said of the two family members who died the same day and whose bodies remain unidentified.

For now she, like Mi Htay, is focused on building her life anew in Thailand, learning to live with unanswered questions as best as she can.

pj/jta/apj/cah

© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse

Myanmar: Operational Plan 2011-2016 DFID Burma Updated December 2014

19 December 2014 - 2:58am
Source: Department for International Development Country: Myanmar, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Context

The context in Burma has changed dramatically since this Plan was originally published. The elections in Burma in November 2010 – though widely seen as falling significantly short of international standards - started a remarkable process of change in the country. Key points in this include: the convening of a largely civilian parliament in April 2011, which has since enacted a series of economic and political reforms; the signing of ceasefire agreements with all but one of the ethnic armed groups in early 2012, followed by ongoing talks; and by-elections in April in which Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy won 42 out of 44 seats. Aung San Suu Kyi herself took her seat as an MP in parliament in May 2012. These changes are welcome and the UK has responded in a number of ways, including by:

  • A visit by the Prime Minister, culminating in the suspension and then lifting of EU sanctions in April 2012 and April 2013

  • Stepping up engagement with reformers in government and continued strong support for Aung San Suu Kyi, opposition parties & ethnic groups

  • Developing a new programme and taking a lead role in using our aid and coordinating others to support reforms.

Yet fundamental challenges remain. In a region containing some of the fastest growing economies in the world, Burma remains one of the poorest countries in Asia. Data about poverty in Burma is difficult to obtain and some is unreliable, but there is evidence of widespread poverty and vulnerability. Its Human Development Index rank of 149/186 (UNDP) is the lowest in the region. Where reliable data exists, it shows the country is off track to reach many of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It has some of the worst health indicators in Asia, and suffers amongst the highest rates of malaria, malnutrition (especially amongst children) and tuberculosis in the world. Conflict has caused widespread displacement affecting girls and women most. Women are poorer than men, often struggle to access healthcare in childbirth and are barely represented in public life, for example comprising less than 6% of the national legislature.

Thailand: Thai NGOs Call for Improved Social Benefits for Migrant Workers

18 December 2014 - 9:30pm
Source: Irrawaddy Country: Myanmar, Thailand

By NYEIN NYEIN

CHIANG MAI, Thailand — Burmese migrants and NGOs supporting migrants in Thailand have called on the Thai government to reform its social security system so that legally registered Burmese, Laotian and Cambodia workers in the country can gain long-term benefits from the system.

Brahm Press, the director of the MAP Foundation for the Health and Knowledge of Ethnic Labor, said the group, along with half a dozen other community-based organizations, had sent an open letter to the Thai Ministry of Interior’s office at Chiang Mai City Hall and to the Thailand’s Legal Reform Committee.

The organizations made their appeal on Thursday to mark International Migrant Day; in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, they also organized a conference on the theme of “Social Security for Migrant Workers”

“We include a couple of demands in our letter; such as calling for having systematic social security system for the migrants and having an easier work permit system for migrants,” he said.

Brahm Press said current Thai laws prevent registered migrants from building up social security benefits over the long term despite the fact that they pay for them, as their visas expire after four years.

Migrants can only return to Thailand after renewing their passports and adopting a new name, causing them to lose all social, health and retirement benefits they built up.

“As they have to go back to their country after four years of working in Thailand, and have to come back to Thailand under a new name in their passport, the social security benefits they paid for during the whole four years have gone,” he said.

“They should be redeemed for what they have saved under the social security fund,” Brahm Press added.

The language barrier is another problem the migrants face as they seek to access the benefits for they paid.

Atiwan Chan Chuay, a Thai Lawyer from the MAP Foundation, said she believed there was a good chance that the Thai government would install the social security reforms that the NGOs were demanding.

“Thailand should adopt these specific long-term policies,” she said, adding that this would strengthen the socio-economic position of migrant workers.

The Thai economy relies heavily on cheap, unregulated labor supplied by its poor neighbors Burma, Cambodia and Laos. Estimates of the total number of migrants vary widely, and up to 3 million Burmese and half a million Cambodians are said to be working in Thailand, often performing unskilled jobs in construction sector, restaurants or the fishing industry.

Many cross the border into Thailand illegally and lack official identity papers, Thai working visas and other legal documentation. As a result, many work as unregistered laborers, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation by employers and authorities.

Despite numerous campaigns by migrant rights groups, there has been little improvement in the migrants’ situation in the past decade.

Myanmar: MSF opens nation’s largest clinic for HIV/AIDS, drug-resistant TB

18 December 2014 - 9:15pm
Source: Mizzima News Country: Myanmar

The largest clinic in Myanmar for treating HIV/AIDS and drug resistant tuberculosis has been officially opened in Yangon’s Insein Township by the international medical humanitarian organisation, Medecins Sans Frontieres.

The clinic will have the capacity to treat a total 10,000 HIv/AIDS patients and about 45 people with DR-TB who are co-infected with HIV/AIDS, says MSF, or about 150 patients a day.

MSF estimates that of about 120,000 HIv/AIDS patients who need access to antiretroviral treatment in Myanmar, only 75,000 are receiving treatment, including 35,000 at its clinics. The remaining 40,000 patients are treated by the Ministry of Health and other non-government organisations.

“One of the key challenges for dealing with these diseases is for those living in remote areas and people with neglected co-infected diseases,” said Dr Phone Thit, MSF’s assistant country health director. “This clinic will help to treat many neglected diseases, such as DR-TB and CMV retinitis [an opportunistic disease linked to HIV/AIDS which can cause permanent blindness].”

Most of the clinic’s patients will be from Yangon Region, with some travelling from throughout Myanmar. Patients in the “intensive” phase of HIV/AIDS will make monthly visits to the clinic and those whose condition is stable will visit every three months.

“This clinic has been designed to give not only the best possible care to our patients, but also to show some of the improvements that one can make in terms of infection control, the smooth control of patients and by getting other actors [in the fight against HIV/AIDS and TB] to visit the clinic,” said Jean-Christophe Dolle, MSF’s deputy head of mission.

MSF said in a news release that the clinic and a scaling-up of the response by the health authorities were crucial for fighting HIV/AIDS and DR-TB but stressed that more needed to be done to confront the challenges posed by the diseases. It said MSF would be focussing on hard-to-reach HIV/AIDS populations, including migrant workers, sex workers and other displaced or marginalised people who face difficulty gaining access to HIV/AIDS diagnosis or treatment.

“In close collaboration with the Ministry of Health’s National AIDS Programme, MSF firmly believes the way forward in this situation is adapting and innovating in the way HIV/AIDS is addressed in Myanmar,” said Dr Nana Zarkua, MSF’s country health director. “This includes scaling-up treatment, strengthening human resources and improving the overall health and laboratory infrastructure,” she said.

“Furthermore, it is crucial that changes are made in the delivery of HIV/AIDS services, such as restructuring health staff duties relating to HIV/AIDS and accelerating the decentralisation of medical services for people living with HIV/AIDS,” she said.

In a speech to mark World AIDS Day on December 1, Health Minister Dr Than Aung said the government was working with international organisations to provide free antiretroviral drug treatment for the increasing number of patients who are not being treated. He also said the government was increasing its health funding to help deal with the diseases.

This Article first appeared in the December 11, 2014 edition of Mizzima Weekly.

Mizzima Weekly is available in print in Yangon through Innwa Bookstore and through online subscription at www.mzineplus.com

Last modified on Thursday, 18 December 2014 13:44

Myanmar: Myanmar Government and Armed Rebel Groups to Resume Peace Talks

18 December 2014 - 12:20pm
Source: Radio Free Asia Country: Myanmar

Myanmar authorities and armed ethnic groups will resume negotiations over a nationwide cease-fire agreement following deadly clashes between the military and ethnic insurgents that have threatened to disrupt the peace process.

The government’s Union Peacemaking Work Committee (UPWC) and the rebels’ Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT), an umbrella group that represents several ethnic groups, have agreed to meet on Dec. 22 to discuss a cease-fire deal, Hla Maung Shwe from the Myanmar Peace Center, which coordinates all peace initiatives, told RFA’s Myanmar Service.

“We will mainly talk about signing the nationwide cease-fire agreement and other topics that the NCCT members want to discuss,” he said.

The decision to hold the meeting was a result of progress made during talks between UPWC’s technical team and NCCT leaders in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on Monday, according to a report by the Myanmar Eleven news group.

At the talks, the NCCT is expected to raise the military’s Nov. 19 attack on a Kachin rebels’ training camp on the outskirts of Laisa, capital of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), on the border with China in northern Myanmar’s Kachin State.

Government forces said the attack, which killed 23 cadets, was meant to be a “warning” strike, but the rebels maintained it was deliberate and posed a threat to peace talks.

Last week, ethnic Kokang rebels launched an “unprovoked” two-day attack on an army camp near Kunlong, around 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the Chinese border, in northeastern Myanmar’s Shan State.

Another wait

Hla Maung Shwe said even if the two sides reached an agreement on Dec. 22, they would have to wait for at least two more weeks to sign a nationwide cease-fire agreement.

We are working to sign a nationwide cease-fire in January and begin political dialogues in February or March, but this depends on the results of the Dec. 22 talks,” he said.

“It is certain that our peace process will be getting much better, and the conflicts will be fewer if we can begin political dialogues in February or March.”

After the two sides sign a nationwide cease-fire agreement, they must hold talks for policy making followed by political dialogues with people who should be included in the process, Hla Maung Shwe said.

“It is important to hold political dialogue,” he said. “We are trying to get the political dialogues done during President Thein Sein’s term. If we can do this, we will have the peace that everyone wants in our country.”

Most of Myanmar’s ethnic groups have been fighting for decades but have temporary, bilateral cease-fire agreements with the government, except for the KIA and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA).

Still, sporadic attacks by armed ethnic groups and government forces in various hotspots around the country have prevented significant progress in the ongoing talks between government and rebel negotiators.

The armed ethnic rebel groups and the government failed to reach a nationwide cease-fire agreement in September after five days of talks following disagreements over military issues and a format for talks on providing greater power to ethnic states.

Myanmar’s ethnic groups have been seeking a federal system since the country gained independence from Britain after World War II, but the country’s former military rulers have resisted their efforts because they equate local autonomy with separatism.

Reported by San Maw Aung for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khet Mar. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

Myanmar: Population of Myanmar using the World Population Grid: Estimated by 2015 (as of 21 October 2014)

18 December 2014 - 6:43am
Source: Myanmar Information Management Unit Country: Myanmar

World: Asia Pacific Food Price and Policy Monitor, November 2014 - Issue 16

18 December 2014 - 6:21am
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Viet Nam, World

HIGHLIGHTS

  • General inflation in the region continued to slow, falling to 3.7 percent from 3.8 percent, while food price inflation was unchanged.

  • Nominal rice prices rose 7.7 percent in South Asia in October.

  • In Afghanistan retail prices for wheat and wheat flour fell by a respective 2 percent and 4.9 percent in expectation of an above-average harvest.

  • Rice prices in India rose 18 percent year-on-year.

  • India’s cereal exports are forecast to decline by 30 percent this marketing year because of higher domestic requirements and anticipated lower output.

  • India and Pakistan increased minimum producer prices for wheat to boost production.

  • Viet Nam will establish 11 agricultural research parks to develop innovative technologies.

Myanmar: HIV prevention and outreach “TOPs” 10 years for key affected populations across Myanmar

18 December 2014 - 4:38am
Source: UN Population Fund Country: Myanmar

On International Human Rights Day UNFPA joined diplomats, representatives from the United Nations Agencies, local and international non-government organisations and donor countries, to celebrate more than ten years of tireless effort in HIV awareness raising amongst key affected populations in Myanmar. The event took place on the 10 December 2014 at a Targeted Outreach Programme (TOP) run Drop-in Center in Yangon.

The Targeted Outreach Programme - otherwise known as "TOP" centres - was established in 2004 and is Myanmar's largest provider of HIV prevention and other clinical services to female sex workers (FMSs) and men who have sex with me (MSMs). According to official figures the number of persons in Myanmar living with HIV is estimated to be approximately 215,000. Figures suggest a 10.4% prevalence amongst FMSs and 8.1% amongst MSMs. On a global scale, 35.3 million people live with HIV/AIDS.

TOP operates 17 Drop-in centers across Myanmar's states and regions providing free HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinical services, access to family planning, reproductive health consultations, peer education and counseling, including a safe space for key affected populations. TOP is supported by UNFPA and other partners such as USAID, the Global Fund and Soa Aids and implemented through the support of Population Services International (PSI).

Ms. Janet Jackson, UNFPA Myanmar Representative highlighted the importance of the work carried out by the TOP and remarked on its achievements, having successfully distributed 14 million condoms, conducted 92,000 HIV tests and identified 8000 case through testing as well as treated 104,00 cases of STIs. "UNFPA is proud to be part of efforts to raise awareness on prevention of HIV/AIDS and to offer advice to affected groups in stigma free locations," she said.

Ms. Jackson also stressed the need for drop-in clinics across Myanmar handing out free contraceptives such as male and female condoms and lubricants, including providing advice to affected groups on stigma-free locations for free testing on sexually infected diseases and HIV in confidence, HIV and reproductive health screening services as well as antiretroviral treatment drugs and other universal precaution material, as well as training and social support. "Our aim is to reduce the stigma attached to HIV and usage of condoms by adopting a zero discrimination approach by increase awareness amongst all stakeholders," she said.

The celebratory event led by the US Ambassador to Myanmar, highlighted in his remarks, the need for continued support through community-led interventions and outreach by TOP. He commended the loyalty and courage of those from the key affected populations who had built up the services over the years, ensuring these continue to be "given for the community by the community".

On a nation-wide scale, UNFPA supports under its 3rd country programme and HIV prevention project, the comprehensive condom programme (CCP) which covers 34 townships and 32 townships for the HIV prevention of mother to child transmission programme (PMCT). UNFPA focuses mainly on prevention of HIV through sexual transmission.

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