World Vision International
Press Release • Sunday, August 2nd 2015

Heavy monsoon rains and cyclone trigger massive flooding, landslides in Myanmar, India

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Since early July, heavy monsoon rains have been falling on Myanmar, India and Bangladesh. The situation worsened late last week as Cyclone Komen made landfall in coastal Bangladesh, causing heavy rainfall, flash floods and landslides in different parts of the northwestern regions and states in Myanmar, and Bengal in India.
 
The rain inundated roads and bridges in northwestern Myanmar and Bengal, India and has hampered relief and rescue efforts. Accessibility to affected areas continues to be a challenge, especially in Myanmar. One of the most affected areas, Sagaing region, for example, remains submerged and can only be accessed by helicopter.
 
To date, close to 172,000 people have been affected in Myanmar and 39 people reportedly killed. In India, 119,000 people have take shelter in the 966 relief camps the government has set up. The death toll in India has reached 39.

"There is a big chance that the flood in lower Myanmar will worsen within two weeks to one month."

The Indian government has said that so far 108,000 houses and over 210,000 hectares of crops have been completely damaged. The Myanmar government has yet to issue an official figure on the extent of damage.

Late Friday night, the Myanmar government declared a state of emergency in the regions of Sagaing and Magwe, and the Rakshine and Chin states.  The relentless monsoon rains have caused ravaging floodwaters sweeping through houses, farmlands, bridges and roads.
 
In Myanmar, food availability and accessibility will be the main difficulties in the coming week or two. Logistics and transportation are still the main challenges. In Chin state, World Vision Myanmar is concerned about food shortage as the road to the market on the mainland (Kalaymyo) has been severely damaged. Alternative sources for food availability are in border areas of India. However, main access roads and bridges to the India boarder have been damaged and blocked by landslide.

All staff and their families have been accounted for and are safe. All children registered in programme areas have also been accounted for. World Vision Myanmar also warns of the possibility of more flooding in the coming days, especially in the lower part of Myanmar.
 
“Naturally, the flood from upper Myanmar (Kachin, Sagaing, Magwe, Chin, Shan) will flow down to lower Myanmar (Ayeyarwaddy delta, Yangon, Mon, Kayin). There is a big chance that the flood in lower Myanmar will worsen within two weeks to one month,” said Win Zin Oo, World Vision Myanmar Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs director.
 
The Township Administration Department (Myanmar Government) organised and formed committees and World Vision is assigned as members of the Relief and Rehabilitation Committee.

World Vision Myanmar will be responding to the affected communities through our current programming areas, and have already provided water purification tablets. Assessments at the local level are currently being conducted. 
 
Meanwhile, in India, two World Vision programmes in West Bengal are in some of the worst affected areas. So far all staff and people in the operational areas are safe, but continue to be at high risk. With the capital city Kolkata submerged in floodwaters, various urban programmes are also at high risk.

SEE PHOTO GALLERY FROM WEST BENGAL, INDIA
 
In Bangladesh, the government has not declared an emergency. World Vision will continue to monitor the situation as flooding has been ongoing since June and may be prolonged due to the monsoon. To date, only one programme area in Cox's Bazar district is affected and World Vision provided dry food to people who took shelter in their constructed shelter.

World Vision Bangladesh also participated in a joint needs assessment conducted by the Department of Disaster Management under the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief. The next meeting of the Emergency Sub-Committee (ESC) of International Organizations is scheduled for August 11.

Written by Diwa Gacosta, Asia-Pacific Disaster Management Communications, with reporting by Theodore Sam, World Vision India & Phoebe Naw, World Vision Myanmar