Myanmar - ReliefWeb News

Syndicate content
ReliefWeb - Updates
Updated: 1 hour 24 min ago

World: Asia - Severe weather events situation - ECHO Daily Map | 11/07/2016

11 July 2016 - 11:15pm
Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office Country: China, China - Taiwan Province, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, World

TC NEPARTAK
• TC NEPARTAK made landfall along the coast of Fujian (China) on 9 July, as a Tropical Storm. Then it moved inland weakening. Heavy rains affected the areas along its path, causing floods.
• In Fujian and Jiangxi provinces (China): nine people died, at least 18 went missing, over 213 000 evacuated and over 11 400 houses damaged.
• In Taiwan: three people died and at least 300 were injured.
• In the Philippines: one person died, two were injured, one went missing and over 3 357 were evacuated in the regions of National Capital Region and Mimaropa, as well as in the province of Rizal.

CHINA
• Heavy rain has affecting the country over the past weeks causing more floods and landslides.
• National authorities report over 203 people dead, 28 still missing, over 200 000 evacuated and over 475 000 homes partially or fully damaged in several provinces of the country, including the ones affected by TC NEPARTAK, as of 11 July.

PAKISTAN
• Heavy rain affected several areas of the country, especially the province of Khyber Pakthnkhwa, causing floods.
• According to official reports the death toll reached 45 people, 25 injured and 41 houses fully or partially damaged, as of 11 July.

NEPAL
• Heavy rain has been affecting the country over the past few days causing floods and landslides.
• According to media reports, two people died and at least 20 were injured in Katmandu city as well as over 41 houses were damaged throughout the country.

MYANMAR/BURMA
• Heavy rain has been affecting several areas of the country over the past few days causing floods and landslides.
• According to official reports, two people have died and over 27 000 have been evacuated in Rakhine,
Sagaing, Kachin, Chin, Magway and Bago, as of 10 July.

INDIA
• Heavy rain has continued to affect the country over the past few days causing more floods and casualties.
• According to local media reports, the death toll has reached 57 people, 200 have been injured and over 7 500 have been evacuated in the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, as of 11 July.

World: Rapport d’activité 2015

11 July 2016 - 11:22am
Source: Triangle Génération Humanitaire Country: Algeria, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Iraq, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Myanmar, Nepal, Sudan, Timor-Leste, Ukraine, World

Acteurs d’une solidarité durable et partagée

En 2015, les équipes de Triangle Génération Humanitaire sont présentes dans 11 pays et gèrent 63 programmes grâce à des partenariats publics durables avec les principaux bailleurs internationaux mais également avec des partenaires privés (entreprises et fondations).

Les programmes réalisés apportent un soutien direct ou indirect à plusieurs centaines de milliers de personnes, au travers d’interventions caractérisées par une approche globale de l’aide humanitaire intégrant urgence, réhabilitation, développement et démarche environnementale.

Fondée sur des valeurs communes d’écoute et de réactivité, lieu de vie et d’expression des engagements personnels, des savoir-faire et de leur partage, Triangle Génération Humanitaire revendique taille humaine, professionnalisme et pragmatisme, en valorisant la notion d’association au sens de “personnes qui mettent en commun leurs activités dans un autre but que le partage de bénéfices”.

L’association est moteur de projets qu’elle élabore avec des partenaires nationaux en identifiant et en mobilisant les ressources et les compétences locales pour apporter des réponses concrètes aux situations inacceptables des populations en souffrance, participer à la lutte contre la pauvreté et pour l’intégration sociale, soutenir sans discrimination d’aucune sorte les groupes de personnes victimes de conflits, de catastrophes naturelles ou de tout type de situation les plongeant dans la précarité. Son approche vise à répondre au plus près des besoins exprimés, et tend vers l’autonomie des groupes de personnes aidées.

Administrée par un Conseil élu, l’association agit en totale indépendance. Son financement étant en grande partie assuré par des institutions internationales, elle est régulièrement soumise aux audits des organisations qui la financent, et a prouvé sa capacité à gérer des fonds publics permettant d’inscrire son action dans la durée.

Myanmar: Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women reviews the situation of women in Myanmar

11 July 2016 - 9:59am
Source: UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women Country: Myanmar

Committee on the Elimination
of Discrimination against Women

7 July 2016

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women today considered the combined fourth and fifth periodic reports of Myanmar on its implementation of the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Maung Wai, Permanent Representative of Myanmar to the United Nations Office at Geneva, introducing the report, said that regardless of the increase in women’s political representation in Parliament, from 4 per cent in 2012 to 13 per cent today, women were not free from challenges and their participation in decision-making was still unsatisfactory. Thus, legislative and policy measures were being introduced to address underlying causes that hampered women’s participation in political and public life. Myanmar had introduced a series of reforms in 2011 to transform the country into a democratic society, which had produced a widening of democratic space, and greater enjoyment of fundamental freedoms and rights, while the promotion and protection of human rights was very high on the agenda of the new administration. The new Government, democratically elected in November 2015, had taken office in March 2016, with the agenda of consolidating democracy, national reconciliation, peace and development.

Also introducing the report, San San Aye, Deputy Director General, Department of Social Welfare, Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, explained that the Myanmar National Committee for Women’s Affairs was the national mechanism for the advancement of women with the mandate of mainstreaming women’s rights in policy making and coordinating relevant ministries. The National Strategic Plan for the Advancement of Women 2013-2022 aimed to ensure that all women in Myanmar were empowered and able to fully enjoy their rights, by enabling systems, structures and practices for the advancement of women.

Committee Experts acknowledged Myanmar’s significant transformation since 2011 and the strengthening of the legal framework, and asked about the time frame for the revision and repeal of the 142 discriminatory laws, and the adoption of important new laws, in particular the Anti-Discrimination Bill and the Prevention of and Protection from Violence against Women Bill. The process of Constitutional reform was crucial and provided an opportunity for Myanmar to ensure that its supreme law did not contain any discriminatory provisions and that it contained a strong and substantive equality guarantee provision. Violence against women was prevalent in the society and took many forms, and was supported by prevailing cultural and gender stereotypes and harmful traditional practices. Experts inquired about concrete measures to put an end to impunity for human rights violations, and to ensure accountability, in particular for sexual violence and abuse committed by the army personnel in post-conflict areas.

Concerns were voiced about discrimination and violence against ethnic minorities, and about several pieces of legislation which could be used to limit the rights of ethnic minorities, including the Population Control Law, and the four Race and Religion Laws, which had been found to be in contravention of international norms and standards. The delegation was asked about limited access to justice for women, and in particular for minority women, and the adverse impact on women’s rights of customary and informal justice mechanisms, which were still widely used; about high maternal mortality rates which were also the result of unsafe and clandestine abortions; very low birth registration rates; and the application of the 1982 Citizenship Law, which should be amended to bring it in line with Article 9 of Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

In concluding remarks, Mr. Wai expressed warmest thanks and deepest appreciation to the Committee Experts for reviewing Myanmar’s efforts in implementing the Convention by raising important questions, and providing useful advice and expert opinions which would contribute to remedying the challenges in the country. As a developing country, Myanmar had limited resources and expertise in tackling human rights challenges, but was nevertheless committed to addressing them.

The delegation of Myanmar included representatives of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, Committee for Women’s and Children’s Rights of the Constituency N° 10 of the Yangon Region, and the Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

The country reviews can be watched via live webcast at http://www.treatybodywebcast.org.

The Committee will reconvene in public on Friday, 8 July, at 10 a.m. to consider the combined seventh and eighth reports of France (CEDAW/C/FRA/7-8).

Report

The combined fourth and fifth periodic reports of Myanmar can be read here: CEDAW/C/MMR/4-5

World: Global Early Recovery Overview 2015: Early Recovery Requirements & Mid-Year Funding Analysis (2016)

11 July 2016 - 9:44am
Source: UN Development Programme, The Global Cluster for Early Recovery Country: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gambia, Guatemala, Honduras, Iraq, Lebanon, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Senegal, Somalia, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine, World, Yemen

Background and aims

In 2015, the Global Cluster for Early Recovery (GCER) sought to measure how well early recovery was integrated into each cluster, and in parallel, to advance understanding of the relative importance of early recovery principles and practices in humanitarian crises overall. In designing a methodology to undertake this analysis, two assumptions were made.

  • The best, and perhaps the only, way to collate information on how early recovery initiatives are being mainstreamed and early recovery principles are being adopted in crises was to extract it from planning documents that were tied to financial tracking. Analysis of planning documents would allow estimations on the number and kinds of projects undertaken, and the links between these documents, the Online Projects System (OPS), and the Financial Tracking Service (FTS) would allow further analysis to estimate the amount of resources assigned to each project. Ÿ

  • There are considerable concerns around the quality and completeness of data found in the FTS in particular; however, as key humanitarian tracking mechanisms, the FTS and OPS were the only real ways to find resources information.

  • Working with these assumptions, the GCER aimed to determine:

    • How many of the projects detailed in each 2015 Response Plan were focused on early recovery, or were early recovery-related;
    • How much money this represents, as shown in the amount of funding requested for early recovery and non-early recovery projects; and
    • How much funding has been received by early recovery and non-early recovery projects as of July 30, 2015.

Answering these points would allow several metrics to be calculated:

i. The proportion of projects that were ER related, per country;

ii. The proportion of projects that were ER related, per cluster globally;

iii. The proportions of ER and non-ER funding that was requested;

iv. The proportions of ER and non-ER funding that was achieved in the first half of 2015.

CRITERIA FOR DETERMINING EARLY RECOVERY PROJECTS

For a project to be considered an early recovery project it should meet at least one or more of the following criteria: ŸŸ

  • Life sustaining: Does the project help sustain the lives saved?

  • Time Critical: Is the project implemented alongside relief interventions?

  • Bridge between relief and long term recovery: Does the project serve as a link between relief and long term recovery by building upon relief assistance and laying the essential foundations for long term recovery/ reconstruction?

  • Facilitates the delivery of relief assistance: Does the project help facilitate the delivery of relief assistance?

  • Strengthen national and local capacity to take charge of the recovery process: Does the project aim to resuscitate and strengthen national and local capacity to coordinate and lead the implementation of early recovery programmes and plan for full recovery?

  • Reduce dependence on relief assistance: Does the project help support the spontaneous recovery efforts of communities and help restore livelihoods, community infrastructure and basic social services?

A detailed methodology is attached in Annex 1. However, it is briefly described in two steps below.

Response Plan Analysis, Round 1

In early 2015, all SRP, HRP, HAP and other planning documents were collected and their project details were captured. The projects were divided into ER and non-ER, which allowed the estimation of the ER and non-ER funds requested for 2015.

Response Plan Analysis, Round 2

In June and July 2015, this initial analysis was reviewed. The OPS and the FTS were reviewed to determine whether the requested amounts had been revised; which projects had been withdrawn; and how activity based plans were being financially tracked. Next, the funding received to 30 July was added to the analysis.

Limitations

In general, data from the FTS and OPS are limited. First, this is because not all funding (for example, pooled and some bilateral funding) are not recorded through these systems.

Secondly, it is understood that not all agencies or clusters in all humanitarian responses will record funding comprehensively through these systems. However, there are currently no better systems to use for analyses like this.

In round 2, it also became more apparent that if a response plan was activity-based, not project-based, there was no way to find funding information. Only projects are tracked in OPS and FTS, so it was not possible to analyse how activity based plan had been funded in this study (see the description in Annex 1).

Myanmar: WHO and Health Cluster partners support rapid health assessments and response in flood-affected areas, Rakhine State

11 July 2016 - 7:28am
Source: World Health Organization Country: Myanmar

Since the beginning of July 2016 heavy monsoonal rains have hit several areas of Myanmar, resulting in floods in five townships of Rakhine State and putting other States and Regions of the country (Sagaing and Magway regions, Chin state) on high alert for flooding risk. Around 27,000 people have been affected by flooding according to Government and UN estimates, and many remain displaced due to high water levels in their townships.

In Rakhine State the townships of Kyauktaw, Mrauk Oo, Minbya, Pauktaw and Buthidaung have been hit particularly hard by the floods. In collaboration with the Rakhine State Government, the Rakhine State Health Department and UNOCHA, WHO and Health Cluster partners have supported Rapid Health Assessments and mobilised Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) in affected areas. The RRTs supported by Health Cluster partners (MSF-Holland, IRC, Mercy Malaysia, Myanmar Medical Association and Myanmar Health Assistant Association, among others) work in close collaboration with the Township Health Departments and the Township Medical Officers to attend to the health needs of the population.

As of today, no disease outbreak or mortality has been reported from affected townships. Provision of health services has not been interrupted, and limited damage was reported across health structures in the affected areas – although some rural and sub-rural health centres have been flooded. Some patients from Buthidaung Township Hospital have been temporarily relocated to higher grounds. Stocks of medicines and emergency supplies are considered adequate and sufficient as of today – particularly with regards to Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) and water purification supplies. However, health needs need to be closely monitored to detect the possible onset of water-borne diseases.

WHO and other Health Cluster partners will continue to monitor the situation closely and stand ready to further support the Rakhine State Health authorities and the Government of Myanmar in responding to the health needs of the population in the affected areas.

Myanmar: 200 villagers flee fighting in Namtu

11 July 2016 - 6:39am
Source: Democratic Voice of Burma Country: Myanmar

More than 200 villagers in the northern Shan State district of Kyaukme were forced to flee their homes when gunfire erupted in the area on Friday.

The displaced locals from six villages in Namtu Township are now sheltering at Shwemyintha Monastery in the town, said its abbot Arseinna.

“The IDPs [internally displaced persons] fled their homes when they heard gunfire around their villages on Friday. They have been arriving at the monastery in small groups and so far there are 218 people,” said the senior Buddhist monk.

“They claimed that three or four villagers from Wanmai were abducted by the Palaung armed group [TNLA] and are yet to return.”

The abbot said that the identities of the detained villagers had not yet been established, but that it was reported to him that they were abducted by the Ta’ang National Liberation Army while on their way home from working on farms just outside their village.

The IDPs are being provided relief by local sympathisers. The town administration has set up a committee to provide them assistance.

Meanwhile, the TNLA issued a statement recently claiming more than 200 villagers in Kyaukme’s Hsipaw Township were forced to flee their home amid threats and “preparations for war” by the Shan State Army-South (RCSS-SSA) on 6 July.

The TNLA was unavailable for comment.

The TNLA, a non-signatory to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), and the RCSS-SSA began clashing in November after the latter signed the NCA with the Burmese government.

The news of the recent displacements in Namtu comes just a few weeks after it was reported that some 400 IDPs had been able to return to their villages during a lull in fighting.

China: Asia and the Pacific: Weekly Regional Humanitarian Snapshot (5 - 11 July 2016)

11 July 2016 - 6:23am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: China, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines

CHINA

On 8 July Typhoon Nepartak made landfall near Taitung, Taiwan Province of China, as a Cat. 4 super typhoon with wind speeds of 234 km/h. Three people were reportedly killed and nearly 17,400 people were evacuated as a result of the storm, which caused storm surges and widespread damage to buildings and infrastructure.

On 9 July 2016 Typhoon Nepartak made a second landfall in eastern China's Fujian Province. As of 10 July, authorities reported six people had been killed and eight people were missing. A total of 449,000 people were affected by the typhoon including some 203,000 people in 10 cities who were temporarily evacuated.

203,000 people temporarily relocated

PHILIPPINES

Typhoon Nepartak (locally called Butchoy) caused flooding in the provinces of Bataan, Zambales,
Bulacan, Rizal and Batangas in western and central Luzon, with landslides reported in Olongapo City, Zambales, and Antipolo City, Rizal. As of 10 July, at least 7,500 families had been affected, with 132 families in 12 evacuation centres. One child is known to have died and one is still missing. 2

As of 9 July, at least 2,200 families (11,000 people) in three municipalities in Basilan province have been affected by the conflict between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Abu Sayyaf Group.
Some families have evacuated to designated centres while others are staying with relatives. No injuries or deaths among the civilian population have been reported. Schools remain closed in some of the affected areas.

INDIA

Continuing monsoon rains led to flash floods in Madhya Pradesh State in central India as of 9 July, with 23 districts impacted and some 200 villages cut off by flood waters. The flooding has affected more than 100,000 people and caused at least 15 deaths. Responders from the military, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), local police and communities are continuing rescue operations, with 20,000 people evacuated to safer areas and at least four relief camps established.

15 people killed

INDONESIA

As of 10 July 101 hotspots had been detected mostly in Sumatra and Kalimantan. Ground and air operations continued throughout the past week in Riau province, where most of the hotspots had been detected. Thus far the fires and haze have had a minimal impact on local populations, and it is unlikely that the humanitarian impacts will be as severe as last year given higher than average rainfall across the country and the increasing likelihood of a La Niña scenario.

MYANMAR

Heavy monsoon rains since 1 July caused flooding in many parts of Myanmar. As of 8 July, more than 27,000 people had been displaced in Rakhine State. Identified immediate needs include drinking water, food and basics non-food items. The State Government is leading response and humanitarian partners are working with local authorities to provide targeted support. Rainfall is expected to continue across many parts of the country in the coming days and some rivers remain above danger levels.

Myanmar: Flood Bulletin (Issued at 13:00 hr M.S.T on 11-7-2016)

11 July 2016 - 4:13am
Source: Government of Myanmar Country: Myanmar
Water Level Bulletin

(1) Flood condition above danger level

According to the (12:30) hr M.S.T observation today, the water level of Chindwin River at Phaungpyin has exceeded by about (2) feet above its danger level, it may fall about (1) foot during the next (2) days and remain above its danger level.According to the (12:30) hr M.S.T observation today, the water level of Chindwin River at Mawlaik has exceeded by about (4) feet above its danger level, it may remain above its danger level during the next (2) days.

(2) Rising condition above danger levels

According to the (12:30) hr M.S.T observation today, the water levels have exceeded by about (2) feet each at Kalewa, Minkin and Kani, and about (2) inches at Monywa of Chindwin River above their respective danger levels. The water levels may continue to rise about (1) foot each at Kalewa, Minkin and Kani and about (½) foot at Monywa during the next (2) days and may remain above their respective danger levels.

It is especially advised to the people who settle near the river bank and low lying areas along the Chindwin River, to take precaution measure.

World: Discussion Paper: Development approaches to displacement

11 July 2016 - 12:49am
Source: UN Development Programme Country: Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, World

I. Introduction

Forced displacement presently affects over 60 million people worldwide, of which over 38 million are internally displaced persons (IDPs). Current data suggests that women living in protracted displacement slightly outnumber men, and given the difficulty in accessing female IDPs in many contexts, it is likely that their number is underestimated. The number of refugees and IDPs continues to grow and the length of stay in host countries has been on the rise in recent decades.More than 45 percent of refugees live in a state of protracted displacement lasting for more than five years while about 50 percent of IDPs have been displaced for more than three years. They live in ‘second exile’, caught between the inability to return to their homes and the lack of durable solutions elsewhere. While the average duration of 33 current protracted refugee situations at the end of 2014 is estimated at 25 years, most of the situations (24) have lasted for more than 20 years.

This paper is developed as a reference document. Its objective is to provide a broad overview of UNDP’s offer of support with respect to protracted displacement. The document underlines the importance of investing in development approaches to displacement, providing a number of concrete examples from current and past programmes. This paper complements a series of country notes with programme examples across all regions.

Myanmar: Flood affected people in Rakhine evacuated, provided with aid

8 July 2016 - 3:02am
Source: Government of Myanmar Country: Myanmar

The Laymyo and Kaladan rivers burst their banks after torrential rain in northern Rakhine and Chin States flooding has affected several wards and villages in Kyauktaw, Mrauk-U, Minbya and Kyauktaw townships over 5-6 July.

Floodwaters are receding in some areas in Rakhine State. Authorities are on alert as rain is expected to continue while aid is being delivered to people affected by the floods.

“When heavy rain hits upstream of Laymyo and Kaladan Rivers, people in the low-lying areas move to higher ground. Relief aid including dry rations, drinking water and family kits which have been supplied by the Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Department have been sent to people.

These areas are said to be affected by floods in July every year,” said U Tin Maung Swe, Secretary of Rakhine State Government.

Authorities have already dropped aid to the people in areas that are not easily accessible due to poor infrastructure.

According to local authorities, flooding has affected 6,100 people from 38 villages and three wards in Minbya Township, 2,828 people from 13 villages in Kyauktaw Township, 2,527 from 10 villages in Mrauk U Township. They are all sheltering at monasteries and homes and high places. Meanwhile, more than 2,900 people in Ann township have been provided with aid and settled in temporary shelters. All schools in Minbya Township remain closed as of 5 July.

“Schools are still submerged underwater. I still can’t say for sure yet when they will reopen. It will be only once the waters have receded. The volume of damage caused by the flooding is still unknown,” said Shwe Saw Maung, assistant township of education officer for the Minbya Township Office of Education.

Tide levels started to rise on July 4, with increased heavy rain on July 5 pushing rivers to burst, submerging wards and villages in Minbya Township underwater. However, as of 6 June water levels have reportedly begun to recede.

A total of 204 schools, including six high schools and three middles schools, are reportedly submerged in Minbya Township. The current flooding also claimed the Yangon-Sittwe highway causing many traffic delays, while sellers from Minbya and Mrauk-U Townships have been packing up their belongings and relocating to higher ground.

“The water is waist high on the roads within the town. Even if the schools were to open, the water levels pose great danger to children. The rains have also yet to cease. Schools would be hard pushed to reopen right after the waters have subsided. We’ve given our students lots of homework to revise at home,” said Ma Nway Nway, a teacher from a school in Minbya Township.—GNLM with Myitmakha News Agency

Myanmar: Pneumococcal Vaccine (PCV) introduced in Myanmar, strengthening routine immunization activities

8 July 2016 - 1:24am
Source: World Health Organization Country: Myanmar

On 1st July 2016 Dr Myint Htwe, Minister of Health and Sports for Myanmar, launched the introduction of pneumococcal vaccine (PCV) during a high-level ceremony held in the capital, Nay Pyi Taw. The PC vaccine – protecting against diseases such as pneumonia, one of the leading killers of children under 5 year in Myanmar - has been introduced throughout the country on the same day. All new birth cohorts will receive the new vaccine. During the ceremony held at the Ministry of Health and Sports, representatives from GAVI, UNICEF and WHO congratulated the Government of Myanmar for launching this new vaccine and for their proven commitment towards improving children’s health in the country.

Dr Alaka Singh, acting WHO Representative, congratulated the Government and expressed her appreciation to basic health staff for their dedication and hard work in the field, which will result in lifelong improvements for the nation’s health. She also remarked the continuous support of WHO for future improvements and advancements in the overall health system of Myanmar.

The government of Myanmar is committed towards improving children’ health and reducing under 5-year-old mortality rates; the expansion of the immunization programme (EPI) is considered a therefore a high priority for the Ministry of Health and Sports. In his speech the Minister emphasized the need of reaching every eligible child with the new vaccine. He also stressed the importance of reducing mortality, morbidity, disability and suffering caused by vaccine preventable diseases. Every effort should be made to reach every child in the country and make immunization services equitable and available for everyone, everywhere.

Myanmar has made significant progress in area of immunization. The last case of wild poliovirus was detected in 2007, maternal and neonatal tetanus was eliminated in 2010 and there was a drastic reduction in number of measles cases after a catch-up campaign. Myanmar introduced Hepatitis B vaccine in 2003, Haemophilus Influenza B in 2012, rubella and Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) in 2015 and now PCV in 2016. The Ministry is also planning to introduce the Japanese Encephalitis vaccine into routine immunization in 2018 following a large scale JE immunization campaign in 2017, as well as Rotavirus vaccine in 2018 and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) in 2019.

Myanmar is also using the introduction of PCV as an opportunity to strengthen routine immunization. There are plans to improve service delivery and equitable access to vaccines irrespective of geography, social factors, ethnicity, wealth, education and sex; improve data management, monitoring and capacity building of basic health staff; implement special strategies for hard to reach, peri-urban, conflict areas and for migrant population; increase community participation and ownership; conduct advocacy with policy makers and strengthen cold chain and demand generation.

Indonesia: Rohingya refugees back on their feet a year after crisis

7 July 2016 - 11:17pm
Source: Jakarta Post Country: Indonesia, Myanmar

By Apriadi Gunawan

Sofih Alam can only resign himself to God as he cannot fast during Ramadhan with his family. Sofih is staying with other Rohingya Muslim refugees at the Pelangi Hotel in Medan, North Sumatra, while his wife and child, who are Indonesian nationals, live with his parents-in-law on Jl. Irigasi, Medan.

Sofih is among Myanmar’s Rohingya refugees who are married to Indonesian Muslim women. Since getting married in 2014, Sofih lives separately with his wife, but the ethnically mixed marriage is blessed with a son, aged 8 months.

He lamented that he could not gather with his wife and son during Ramadhan. According to the 27-year-old man, it would be very beautiful to carry out Ramadhan with his beloved family.

“This is the fate of Rohingya refugees who have wives and children but cannot live together. We fast separately, and during Idul Fitri, we also celebrate separately,” Sofih told The Jakarta Post at the Pelangi Hotel refugee shelter in Medan on Wednesday.

He said it was very difficult to live as a refugee because everything was restricted by regulations. During Ramadhan, for example, any aid channeled to Rohingya refugees must have permits from the immigration office. As a result, said Sofih, there was no longer support from the community during Ramadhan for the past couple of years.

“Earlier, we received a lot of the help, but not any longer,” he said.

Sofih said that during Ramadhan, refugees were forced to chip in to buy food for sahur (pre-dawn meal) and iftar.

“Some chip in Rp 10,000 [about 75 US cents], while others chip in Rp 20,000 each. There is no obligation, as we gather any amount to buy our fasting needs during the month,” said Sofih, adding that the number of Rohingya refugees accommodated in Hotel Pelangi stood at 110. During Ramadhan, they break their fast, have sahur and pray together in the hotel, which they have lived in for years.

Sofih said the entire amount of the hotel costs and the money they spent every day, including for fasting, came from the International Organization for Migration (IOM). He claimed every refugee received monthly assistance from the IOM.

“Each adult refugee receives a monthly allowance of Rp 1,250,000, while a child refugee gets Rp 500,000,” said Sofih, adding that the assistance was only intended for Rohingya refugees, and not their Indonesian wives and children.

Hundreds of migrants washed ashore on the coast of Aceh last year in one of the largest migrant crises in Southeast Asia. Most of the migrants are Rohingya Muslims who fled their home country of Myanmar to avoid persecution. Those who are temporarily accommodated in Indonesia mostly stay in shelters in Aceh as well as in Medan.

The IOM recorded that the number of illegal immigrants who hold the status of refugee and asylum seeker in Medan in 2015 reached 1,895 people. However, in mid-2016, the number increased to 1,900, among them refugees from Afghanistan (390), Sri Lanka (363), Myanmar Rohingya (283), Somalia (283), Palestine (270) and Iran (129). They wish to be placed in countries such as the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Sofih expressed gratitude for the continuous help he had received for almost six years, but said it was not enough to meet everyday needs. Sofih said the amount of aid received by refugees for the past six years until now remained the same, while the prices of basic necessities kept rising.

“I was still alone back then, but now I am married. Nonetheless, I have received the same amount of assistance. We’re not allowed to work for extra money,” said Sofih, who wishes to become an Indonesian citizen.

Another Rohingya refugee, Muhammad Nur, said he was very eager to gain asylum from a third country in order to live freely and to work to meet the living needs of his family. Nur claimed he had been a refugee in Indonesia for nearly six years, but has not been sent to a third country.

The North Sumatra Immigration Office’s Justice and Human Rights department head, Yudi Kurniadi, said that based on information from the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR), there were a number of refugees accommodated in Medan who were sent to the US and Canada on June 15 this year.

“So, almost every month there are refugees from here sent by the UNHCR to destination countries. The number is not definite. It depends on verification conducted by the UNHCR,” Yudi told the Post.

Yudi pointed out that based on regulations, the refugees were not permitted to receive guests, let alone live with others who are not from their own country. He added the refugees live adequately as all their needs are met by the IOM, so there was no need for help from the community. “They’re pretty good, as all their requirements are fulfilled by the IOM,” he said.

Myanmar: Landmine kills 1, injures 7 in Shan State

7 July 2016 - 10:16pm
Source: Democratic Voice of Burma Country: Myanmar

By NANG MYA NADI / DVB 7 July 2016

A landmine blast in northern Shan State’s Kyaukme District killed one person and injured seven others, local sources said on Thursday.

Sai Mauk San, a villager living in the area, told DVB that the incident occurred on 6 July as a group of people from several villages in Namtu Township were carrying goods for the Shan State Army-South (SSA-South), an armed group that signed last year’s Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement.

“They set off the landmine as they were helping to carry things for the SSA-South. It happened around 8:30am between the villages of Piang Htaung and Narkon, near a railway line. There were 17 people altogether. We heard the blast,” said sai Mauk San.

One person was killed immediately, he said, while three others who were seriously injured were taken to the hospital in Lashio, the largest town in the area. Four others were treated locally.

The person who was killed was identified as 24-year-old Sai Kyaw Thaung, from the village of Nampai. The victims were all men between the ages of 15 and 55, sources said.

It was unknown what kind of landmine it was or which group planted it, but in addition to the SSA-South, two other ethnic armed groups are active in the area — the Shan State Army-North and the Ta’aung National Liberation Army (TNLA), both of which are still actively engaged in hostilities with Burma’s armed forces.

Nang Kham Aye, an MP for Namtu Township from the ruling National League for Democracy, said it wasn’t the first time that villagers had become victims of the conflict in the restive region.

“I was in Rangoon when it happened. People from the area called me and told me about it,” she said.

“I don’t want fighting. Whenever there is fighting, the ones who get hurt are the villagers. So I want the armed groups to negotiate with each other to get solutions.”

There has been no recent fighting around the area where the landmine went off, but the TNLA reported six clashes earlier this week in Mantong Township, north of Namtu.

Myanmar: Will Myanmar’s Rohingya finally become citizens in their own country?

7 July 2016 - 5:47am
Source: IRIN Country: Myanmar

Under intense pressure from the United States, Myanmar's new government is struggling to resolve one of its most pressing problems: it’s launched a programme aimed at providing citizenship to the Rohingya, an ethnic and religious minority who live under apartheid-like conditions.

Read the full report.

Bangladesh: EU provides €12.3 million to enhance disaster preparedness capacity across Asia and the Pacific

7 July 2016 - 1:20am
Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office Country: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Thailand, Viet Nam

Bangkok, 7 July 2016 – The European Commission is making available € 12.3 million to strengthen the capacity of disaster-prone countries across Asia and the Pacific to prepare for and protect themselves from recurring natural disasters. Almost half of the world’s natural disasters last year occurred in Asia and the Pacific, causing large-scale losses of lives and assets.

“The European Commission's funding will help people in countries in Asia and the Pacific to increase their preparedness when disasters strike. The funds will support projects aiming to reduce the impact of natural hazards and build resilience amongst the most vulnerable communities in 11 countries across the region. It is of paramount importance that people in these vulnerable countries are given the necessary means and knowledge to face these recurrent events in the best possible way”, said Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management.

The EU funds will be provided to humanitarian partner organisations such as international non-government organisations (INGOs), UN agencies and the Red Cross and Red Crescent family, to implement the initiatives in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Lao PDR, the Philippines, North Korea, Nepal, Mongolia, Vietnam, Myanmar and Thailand.

Asia and the Pacific is the world’s most disaster-prone region, with at least 160 disasters taking place in the region last year, out of 344 recorded globally. These events often have greater impacts on the most vulnerable populations, who are less prepared to cope with these hazards. According to the United Nations’ Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), catastrophic events resulted in the deaths of more than 16 000 people and left close to 59.3 million others affected across the region in 2015.

The latest allocation brings the Commission’s total funding for disaster preparedness programmes in Asia-Pacific to more than € 140 million since 1996, including almost € 27 million in the last funding cycle (2014-2015), covering 18 most disaster-prone countries across the region.

Background

Asia-Pacific encompasses a broad array of high-risk zones such as river basins, flood plains, seismic fault lines and volcanic landforms. Its vast and diverse landmass allows for varied and extreme weather patterns, ranging from floods to cyclones and droughts. Climate change, rapid urbanisation and rising population densities in disaster-prone areas may also result in more frequent and intense hazards in the future.

Since 1996, the European Commission has funded a number of disaster preparedness programmes across Asia and the Pacific. These initiatives typically focus on providing most-at-risk populations with better know-how and practical training whilst supporting the involvement of local, regional and national authorities. Last year, for example, when a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck central Nepal, a then-ongoing medical preparedness initiative proved life-saving from the very first hours of the emergency: past training of medical staff on trauma protocols, the stockpiling of medical supplies and non-structural retrofitting of hospitals all ensured that targeted health premises in the capital city, Kathmandu, were equipped to cope with the devastating impact of the earthquake and health personnel able to perform their emergency duties without delay. Besides Nepal, other vulnerable countries, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka,

Pakistan, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, North Korea, Lao PDR, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam, also benefited from EU-funded preparedness projects between 2014 and 2015.

In addition to dedicated disaster preparedness initiatives, the Commission also encourages the integration of disaster risk reduction interventions into all EU-funded humanitarian operations.

Contact

Pierre Prakash, Regional Information Officer for Asia and the Pacific, European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO): +66 89 811 54 81, Pierre.Prakash@echofield.eu

World: EU provides € 12.3 million to enhance disaster preparedness capacity across Asia and the Pacific

7 July 2016 - 1:20am
Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office Country: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Thailand, Viet Nam, World

Bangkok, 7 July 2016 – The European Commission is making available € 12.3 million to strengthen the capacity of disaster-prone countries across Asia and the Pacific to prepare for and protect themselves from recurring natural disasters. Almost half of the world’s natural disasters last year occurred in Asia and the Pacific, causing large-scale losses of lives and assets.

“The European Commission's funding will help people in countries in Asia and the Pacific to increase their preparedness when disasters strike. The funds will support projects aiming to reduce the impact of natural hazards and build resilience amongst the most vulnerable communities in 11 countries across the region. It is of paramount importance that people in these vulnerable countries are given the necessary means and knowledge to face these recurrent events in the best possible way”, said Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management.

The EU funds will be provided to humanitarian partner organisations such as international non-government organisations (INGOs), UN agencies and the Red Cross and Red Crescent family, to implement the initiatives in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Lao PDR, the Philippines, North Korea, Nepal, Mongolia, Vietnam, Myanmar and Thailand.

Asia and the Pacific is the world’s most disaster-prone region, with at least 160 disasters taking place in the region last year, out of 344 recorded globally. These events often have greater impacts on the most vulnerable populations, who are less prepared to cope with these hazards. According to the United Nations’ Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), catastrophic events resulted in the deaths of more than 16 000 people and left close to 59.3 million others affected across the region in 2015.

The latest allocation brings the Commission’s total funding for disaster preparedness programmes in Asia-Pacific to more than € 140 million since 1996, including almost € 27 million in the last funding cycle (2014-2015), covering 18 most disaster-prone countries across the region.

Background

Asia-Pacific encompasses a broad array of high-risk zones such as river basins, flood plains, seismic fault lines and volcanic landforms. Its vast and diverse landmass allows for varied and extreme weather patterns, ranging from floods to cyclones and droughts. Climate change, rapid urbanisation and rising population densities in disaster-prone areas may also result in more frequent and intense hazards in the future.

Since 1996, the European Commission has funded a number of disaster preparedness programmes across Asia and the Pacific. These initiatives typically focus on providing most-at-risk populations with better know-how and practical training whilst supporting the involvement of local, regional and national authorities. Last year, for example, when a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck central Nepal, a then-ongoing medical preparedness initiative proved life-saving from the very first hours of the emergency: past training of medical staff on trauma protocols, the stockpiling of medical supplies and non-structural retrofitting of hospitals all ensured that targeted health premises in the capital city, Kathmandu, were equipped to cope with the devastating impact of the earthquake and health personnel able to perform their emergency duties without delay. Besides Nepal, other vulnerable countries, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka,

Pakistan, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, North Korea, Lao PDR, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam, also benefited from EU-funded preparedness projects between 2014 and 2015.

In addition to dedicated disaster preparedness initiatives, the Commission also encourages the integration of disaster risk reduction interventions into all EU-funded humanitarian operations.

Contact

Pierre Prakash, Regional Information Officer for Asia and the Pacific, European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO): +66 89 811 54 81, Pierre.Prakash@echofield.eu

Myanmar: Analysis: Burma’s Military Remains Intolerant of Press Freedom

7 July 2016 - 1:09am
Source: Irrawaddy Country: Myanmar

By San Yamin Yaung

RANGOON — Burma’s powerful military remains intolerant of press freedom, fearing a negative portrayal of its institution.

Take three incidents as examples.

The army sued the local private newspaper 7 Day Daily on June 25 for publishing a story in April which reprinted former general Shwe Mann’s message to graduates of the Defense Services Academy. The statement urged his former colleagues to work for the country’s newly-elected democratic government.

The military claimed the article could lead to disunity in the army and encourage treason, and filed a lawsuit under Section 131 of Burma’s Penal Code against the newspaper’s editor-in-chief and the journalist who reported the story. The violation carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.

The lawsuit was later dropped following negotiations, but the newspaper printed an apology to the military in state media last week as part of the settlement.

Does the military pose a threat to the media under the new government?

The 7 Day Daily case has been considered a threat to press freedom because it showed that the media could be sued if it upset the military, even if the reporting was accurate.

“The military’s attitude is the same as in the past; they don’t like if we touch them,” said Ko Thiha, an editor from the local newspaper.

Myanmar Journalists Network (MJN), a press advocacy group, denounced the case.

MJN said journalists would undergo self-censorship because of the incident and it would harm the public’s right to know.

“The government needs to persuade the military to change its attitude in order to smooth over relations with the media,” Ko Thiha said.

“We had to resolve it on our own. There was no mediation from the Ministry of Information [MOI]. The MOI shared [7 Day Daily’s] apology on their website even though they have not shared similar content in the past. It is clear which side MOI is on and whom they are afraid of,” he added.

Although Burma is now ruled by its first civilian government after more than half a century of junta rule, the military still has a strong influence in politics. The 2008 military-drafted Constitution is still in place and remains difficult to amend, as 25 percent of parliamentary seats are reserved for military appointees, giving them veto power over constitutional amendments. The armed forces also maintain control of three important ministries: home affairs, defense and border affairs.

Former information minister Ye Htut told The Irrawaddy that although 7 Day Daily didn’t breach journalistic ethics when reporting, the military had cause to worry.

“The media needs to know that the army has concerns related to unity and they need to be careful in their reporting when it could lead to the disintegration of the military,” he said. “The media has a duty to report what the public needs to know, but at the same time, they need to be careful not to be manipulated by politicians,” the former information minister added.

Prior to the 7 Day Daily incident, the movie “Twilight over Burma” was banned from being screened publicly and removed from a film festival by the censorship board, which alleged that the film could damage the image of the army and harm ethnic unity.

The film tells the story of ethnic Shan leader Sao Kya Seng—who was arrested by the Burma Army during Gen Ne Win’s coup and later disappeared under mysterious circumstances—and his Austrian wife.

Human rights activist Moe Thway said “the ban on the movie was ugly,” adding that the military’s violation of press freedom was a negative sign during the government transition.

“Whether the army, ethnic groups or anyone else did wrong, it should be exposed. The public has the right to know. Only if we expose wrongdoings from the past will we not repeat them in the future,” he said.

Besides the film and media industries, civil society organizations have also been targeted.

Last week, the Ta’ang Women’s Organization (TWO) was forced to cancel a press conference for the launch of its report on human rights abuses by the Burma Army in northern Shan State.

The Rangoon divisional government forced the cancellation of the press conference for the second time; the first time was in late June. TWO’s recent report, entitled “Trained to Torture,” compiled accounts of ethnic Palaung (Ta’ang) victims of torture from 2012-16.

Ye Naing Moe, director of the Yangon Journalism School, said that freedom of the press and freedom of expression must be recognized on the path toward democracy.

“The army chief said the military would cooperate and support the transition to democracy, and that is impossible without press freedom,” he added.

The recent incidents raise the question of whether the military has confidence in their actual image, as opposed to the one that they project, said Ma Thida, prominent writer and president of the literacy organization PEN Myanmar.

“These truths are easily discovered in other ways. As for 7 Day’s story, the public could easily find Shwe Mann’s comments on his Facebook; for “Twilight over Burma,” translated versions of the book are available. [The military] may think it is protecting the image of the institution but in reality, it is only harming itself,” she added.

San Yamin Aung is a reporter for The Irrawaddy English Edition.

Additional reporting contributed by Kyaw Hsu Mon.

Myanmar: Myanmar government assures it is working to ensure safe return of refugees

6 July 2016 - 11:09pm
Source: Government of Myanmar Country: Myanmar, Thailand

THE Ministry of Border Affairs and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees jointly hosted a consultation workshop on a strategic operation plan for the voluntary repatriation of Myanmar refugees in Thailand in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.

In his address, Union Minister Lt-Gen Ye Aung said that the government will make the necessary arrangements to ensure the return home of Myanmar refugees on the Myanmar-Thailand border with safety and with dignity.

According to sources, some of 105,000 Myanmar refugees, living in a total of nine camps along the Myanmar-Thailand border, are planning to return home.

The ministry is planning to ink another MoU with the UNHCR in regard to the ongoing projects to provide returning Myanmar citizens with education, health services, clean water, infrastructure and vocational training, added the Union minister. According to the ministry, it has been implementing such projects since 2013 in Kayin, Mon, Kayah, Shan and Chin States and Taninthayi and Bago Regions with the use of US$ 9.05million in cooperation with the UNHCR.

The Union minister called for a repatriation plan to be developed at the workshop in order to ensure the return of Myanmar refugees in safety, stressing the need for collaborative efforts between the ministry, ethnic groups, CSOs, ethnic communities and the UNHCR.

During the workshop those present held roundtable discussions on the challenge of repatriating refugees and developing strategic operational plans.— Myanmar News Agency

World: World: 2016-2017 ENSO Overview (As of 5 July 2016)

6 July 2016 - 4:34pm
Source: World Food Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Food Security Cluster Country: Angola, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Botswana, Cambodia, Chad, Colombia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Timor-Leste, Viet Nam, World, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Globally, millions of vulnerable people are experiencing increased hunger and poverty due to droughts, floods, storms and extreme temperature fluctuations as a result of a climatic occurrence: El Niño. This phenomenon is not an individual weather event but a climate pattern which occurs every two to seven years and lasts 9-12 months. The 2015/2016 occurrence is one of the most severe in a half-century and the strongest El Niño since 1997/1998 which killed some 21,000 people and caused damage to infrastructure worth US$ 36 billion. The negative consequences of El Niño are foreseen to continue through 2017, particularly in Southern Africa where this event has followed multiple droughts compounding the already fragile situation. It is critical that an adequate and sustained response is implemented in order to safeguard decades of development gains. More than US$2 billion are required to support food security and agriculture programmes globally through 2017.

Myanmar: Myanmar: Kachin & Northern Shan CCCM Dashboard (1/Jun/2016)

6 July 2016 - 2:37pm
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Myanmar Information Management Unit, CCCM Cluster, Shelter Cluster Country: Myanmar