- The most vulnerable communities in Myanmar are affected by a complex mix of factors linked to both natural disasters and conflict.
- Populations remain vulnerable to a broad diversity of frequent, low-scale natural disasters that undermine the development process.
- Life expectancy at birth in Myanmar is 61.2 years, compared to the regional average of 72.2 years.
- Infant mortality remains high, with one in 10 live births resulting in the death of the infant.
- Malnutrition is widespread among under-five children, with about one third of children severely or moderately stunted and underweight.
- More than 25% of the population lacks access to safe drinking water.
OCHA established its presence in Myanmar in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis in May 2008. The immediate OCHA priority was to facilitate and support the humanitarian response in the affected areas of the Ayerwaddy Delta. Eighteen months later, the response to Cyclone Nargis has transitioned away from the emergency phase. OCHA has refocused its strategy on the Delta toward a broader one on vulnerable populations across the country.
Outside the Delta, significant humanitarian concerns exist, particularly in areas such as Chin State, Northern Rakhine State and the eastern border areas. In these regions, humanitarian response is ongoing but coordination remains inadequate. Efforts to establish and strengthen coordination mechanisms in these vulnerable areas will require dedicated support. In addition, the recurrence of natural disasters and conflict underlines the need for continued disaster preparedness initiatives to be mainstreamed nationwide throughout 2010. The government has been receptive to OCHA involvement on issues relating to Cyclone Nargis.
This includes cluster coordination support from the outset of the emergency; management of six coordination hubs in the Ayerwaddy Delta; and mobilization of resources for the Cyclone Nargis Flash Appeal (68 percent funded). Among other efforts, OCHA has provided ongoing coordination of the humanitarian response, and helped prepare for and mitigate the impact of future natural disasters. OCHA will build upon these achievements, taking into account the continuing humanitarian needs in other parts of the country. Priority functions have been identified through a thorough assessment of the humanitarian coordination requirements in Myanmar. Overall humanitarian coordination – meaning support to the RC/HC, HCT, Tripartite Core Group, various thematic and geographic working groups, and local authorities – remains essential to the humanitarian response.
Humanitarian financing remains a priority, given the positive experience with the Humanitarian Multi-Stakeholder Fund (HMSF), which OCHA is managing. In addition, given the lack of comprehensive data and analysis on the humanitarian situation and response, IM and reporting is a priority for the humanitarian community, including OCHA in 2010.
In 2010, OCHA thus intends to focus specific attention on the following priority functions:
- More systematic coordination of the common humanitarian programme cycle, including improved coordination mechanisms at sub-national, national and regional level.
- Enhanced response preparedness and contingency planning.
- Enhanced resource allocation through humanitarian fund management.
- Humanitarian response underpinned by integrated analysis of the overall humanitarian situation, including accurate reporting and useful information products.