Myanmar Tropical Cyclone Nargis Flash Appeal 2008

9 May 2008

Cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar on 2 and 3 May 2008 with winds up to 200 kph, sweeping through the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) delta region and the country’s main city and former capital, Yangon (Rangoon).The authorities initially declared five states and divisions (Yangon, Ayeyarwady, Bago, Mon and Kayin) to be disaster areas, but on 6 May revised this to the Ayeyarwady and Yangon Divisions only.Damage was most severe in the delta region, where the effects of extreme winds were compounded by a sizable storm surge that destroyed an estimated 95% of housing.Yangon sustained a direct hit, which downed power and communications lines, and inflicted major damage to buildings, such that six days after the storm people remain largely without electricity, piped water and communications.Many roads into and out of the city, as well as vital roads into the delta region, are blocked by flooding or debris.For much of the delta region, the most significant transportation is normally by waterway, and water transport infrastructure has been severely damaged.
 

The toll of people killed, missing, or affected remains difficult to assess, with the numbers continuing to increase daily.As of 5 May, the Ministers for Foreign Affairs, Social Welfare, Relief and Rehabilitation, and Information estimated that, in Ayeyarwady Division alone, up to 10,000 people have been killed, with 3,000 more missing.As of 6 May, international media sources cited a total figure of approximately 23,000 dead and 40,000 missing.State media have reported that in Haing Ky, an island in the delta, 162 were killed and nearly 20,000 houses were destroyed, leaving 92,706 homeless.Several hundred thousand are estimated to be without shelter and safe drinking water.Efforts to carry out a comprehensive assessment continue to be hindered by the lack of communications and blocked roads.


The Government announced the establishment of an Emergency Committee, headed by the Prime Minister, and has deployed military and police units as part of rescue and cleanup operations.The Government also indicated in a briefing with United Nations agencies and the diplomatic community on 5 May that it is open to international assistance, although it would appear at this stage that the assistance envisaged is primarily bilateral, with assistance going directly to Government relief agencies.The Government itself has pledged approximately US$[1]5 million for relief.


The Humanitarian Country Team expects that critical needs will be plastic sheeting, water purification materials, water receptacles, cooking sets, mosquito nets, emergency health kits, and food.Fuel shortages have also been reported.The food security situation in the country, which was already severe, is likely to become more acute.Compounding the delivery of this aid will be the dire logistical situation, with much of the delta region very difficult to access.Considering the size of the area hit by the storm, the number of people who will be found to need assistance is expected to rise to a massive total as assessments continue and access improves.The combined population of the declared disaster areas, Yangon and Ayeyarwady divisions, is around 13 million (out of a total estimated Myanmar population of 53 million), with roughly six million living in Yangon and periphery, and with a significant population spread across the delta region, one of the country’s most populous.


Currently, the UNCT is working on planning to assist a minimum of 1,500,000 persons for at least three months.However, the current difficulties surrounding access to the affected areas, the largely administrative difficulties in bringing further relief supplies and expertise into the country, and the uncertainty over the degree and type of in-country capacity to implement relief programmes is casting a shadow over planning.This appeal therefore seeks $187 millionto enable international partners (10 United Nations organisations and nine non-governmental organisations to support the Government of Myanmar in addressing the needs of more than 1,500,000 people affected by the cyclone.The planning horizon for this appeal is six months.The appeal will be regularly updated to reflect new needs as the situation evolves, with an organized revision after some weeks when fuller information and plans are available.


[1]All dollar signs in the document denote United States dollars.Funding for this appeal, or any other humanitarian funding for this disaster, should be reported to the Financial Tracking Service (FTS, fts@reliefweb.int).

Document History

9 May 2008

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