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Myanmar - Tsunami Assistance Coordination Group

Myanmar - Tsunami Assistance Coordination Group

7 January, Yangon, Myanmar -- The Tsunami Assistance Coordination Group met yesterday to consolidate the findings of the different assessment and verification missions undertaken throughout the affected areas of Myanmar. The CoordinationGroup* was set up at the onset of the disaster and is chaired by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The group concluded that Myanmar has been largely spared from the destructive forces of the earthquake and subsequent Tsunami, and that the initial emergency needs have been met by the Government and by the aid community. The group’s assessment of the scale of impact is in line with the Government’s own findings. The group confirms a death toll of 60-80, and estimates the longer-term affected population at 10-15,000, of whom

5-7,000 are directly affected.

Reports indicate that the wave force reaching the coast of Myanmar (and including some 60 km of the Thai coast) was already greatly reduced in comparison with neighbouring countries, and the particular topography of the southern and delta coastlines, as well as the rocky nature of the islands, provided physical protection for the population. Over the course of the last 10 days a series of assessment and verification missions were undertaken by one or more of the partners already working in Myanmar - to the Rakhine Coast, the Ayeyarwady Delta and the southern coast including the most populated islands of the Myeik archipelago and the islands off Kawthaung around Lampi Island.

The consolidated findings identified immediate needs in the following sectors: shelter, safe drinking water, food, and non food items (blankets, clothes, cooking sets, mosquito nets etc). Agencies are closely coordinating their responses through the coordination group and are largely using pre-positioned stocks and/or redirecting resources from other areas of the country or through their regional mechanisms. Emergency family kits have already been distributed in both the delta and southern regions and further support is announced or planned for the next days.

Future coordination and planning will be ensured by a small liaison group following up on a second assessment phase for mid- and longer-term needs and support. Initial assessments point to a longer-term impact on livelihoods and community coping mechanisms. The aid partners will ensure particular attention will be paid to clean water sources, damage to soil and crops, destruction or damage to houses, fishing boats and nets. They will also pay attention to disease surveillance and response and access to health care, education infrastructure and services, community services and communications, and the needs of particularly vulnerable groups within the affected population. The resources needed to cover replenishment costs of the initial response as well as the financial requirements for the mid to long term recovery will be made available as soon as the second round of assessments are completed.

The group agreed to undertake an evaluation of the response and coordination mechanisms as apparent in the emergency phase of the current situation in Myanmar, with a view to improving future disaster preparedness and response.

* Coordination Group participants: IFRC, ICRC, MRCS, UNRC, UNDP, WFP, UNICEF, WHO, UNIC, UNHCR, MSF(CH), MSF(Holland), World Vision, CARE, SCF(UK), PSI, ZOA, ADRA.

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