UN authorities in Myanmar are reporting that Cyclone Komen made landfall in neighbouring Bangladesh on 30 July, and with it brought strong winds and heavy rains to Myanmar which have resulted in further floods and landslides in several states and regions across the country.
On 31 July, President U Thein Sein issued a statement declaring natural disaster zones in Chin and Rakhine states and in the Sagaing and Magway regions.
At least 27 people are thought to have died in floods in Myanmar in the last 2 weeks, according to the UNOCHA report. The most recent figures from the Myanmar government say this figure is now 36. The death toll is likely to rise further once full assessments have been carried out in affected areas.
Myanmar had already suffered severe flooding during July after heavy monsoon rain. As many as 19 people died in floods in Sagaing, Kachin, Mandalay and Shan.
According to initial figures from the Government’s Relief and Resettlement Department (RRD), as of 01 August, 2015, over 156,000 people have been affected across Sagaing, Kachin, Shan, Mandalay, Chin, Rakhine, Kayin, Mon, Bago, Magway, Ayeyarwady and Yangon.
The UN report that figures could rise once further assessments are carried out.
“However, there are many areas that have still not been reached or reported on by assessment teams and information that is still coming in from the Government indicates that the total figure may be significantly higher. According to Government sources, at least 27 people have been killed by floods in July. As further information becomes available, this figure is also expected to increase”.
Local authorities, the Union Government, the military, as well as the Myanmar Red Cross Society and local civil society organizations, with support from the UN and international organizations, are responding to the floods in different parts of the country, carrying out rescue operations and providing food, water, blankets, medical and other basic necessities to those affected.
Double Catastrophe for Myanmar’s Most Vulnerable
UNICEF in Myanmar today warned that vulnerable children in Myanmar face a ‘double catastrophe’ as floods add to the hardship faced by children living in poverty and those recovering from violence and conflict.
“The floods are hitting children and families who are already very vulnerable, including those living in camps in Rakhine State,” UNICEF Deputy Representative in Myanmar Shalini Bahuguna said. “Beyond the immediate impact, the floods will have a longer term impact on the livelihoods of these families.”
In Rakhine State, 140,000 displaced children and families living in camps are particularly vulnerable. Shelters, latrines, bathing facilities, learning spaces and other facilities in the camps were constructed for short-term use, and damage is expected because of heavy rains and winds.
India Hit by Heavy Rain after Cyclone Komen
Cyclone Komen also brought heavy rain and destruction to parts of India. A landslide in the state of Manipur, which borders Myanmar, completely buried a village of around 12 houses, leaving 20 people dead.