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August 21, 2019

Adapt to change to better manage extreme weather events

  • With the change in weather patterns, our people are experiencing the devastating impact of extreme weather events, including drought and floods.
    These changes, which have not been seen before, will soon become the norm, and it will require the cooperation of the Union Government and state and regional governments to uncover the reasons behind them.
    We must be aware that extreme weather patterns can lead to death and devastation, and they can also contribute to an increase in the spread of major killer diseases affecting children, such as malnutrition, malaria, and diarrhea.
    Currently, the people and children of Bago Region, Kayin State, Mon State, Taninthayi Region, and Ayeyawady Region are sheltering at the temporary camps set up in their respective areas.
    Floods have a direct impact on people’s lives, as they often involve injury and drowning. Beyond these immediate risks, floods pose a hindrance to safe drinking water supply and damage sanitation facilities, increasing the risk of diarrhea and other disease outbreaks, besides impacting children’s access to education.
    The monsoons bring not only floods, but also landslides in the hilly areas of Myanmar. When torrential rain falls, people must remain on the alert for flash floods and landslides near hilly areas and also small rivers, according to the weather bureau.
    To reduce losses, disaster preparedness must begin at the grassroots level, but ministries and regional authorities must take a leading role in the drive.
    The monsoon floods in August have affected over 14,000 people in Bago Region, over 11,000 people in Kayin State, over 7,500 people in Mon State, over 200 people in Taninthayi Region, and 700 people in Ayeyawady Region, which brings the total to over 34,000.
    The authorities and local social organizations are working together in flood-hit areas to provide assistance to flood victims.
    So far, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement has provided over K290 million to flood victims in July and August.
    We would like to urge people to take note of the weather reports issued by the Meteorology and Hydrology Department, and contact the hotline numbers 067-3404666 and 067-3404777.
    Meanwhile, the authorities are urged to share information as quickly as possible, and use social media effectively.
    Disasters are expected to happen regularly and can impact all people, without discrimination, and the public is still obligated to respond to disasters.
    It is the people who are paying the heaviest price when it comes to weather events, which are becoming more extreme, unpredictable, and erratic.

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