The continuous rise in flood levels increasingly threaten long-term food security and its supply in certain states of Myanmar. In these areas, acres of crops, some of which can only be harvested annually, have already been destroyed by flood waters. These remote communities also face the possibility of further isolation by rising waters, making them inaccessible and hampering the delivery of aid.

 

An army of volunteers fighting to maintain a wooden bridge above water. 

Local volunteers and villagers in Don Byat battle against time to transport food supplies over to the other side. Accessibility to some 60 villages will be cut off when this bridge is submerged by rising waters.

With initial hopes that the flood waters will recede quickly, some villagers remain reluctant to leave their homes. Many others have sought refuge in informal evacuation centers. Like many families living in this region where seasonal flooding is the norm, local villager Aung Aung is reluctant to evacuate his home for higher ground since water levels began rising three days ago. They were left with the difficult decision to leave their belongings and livestock behind, as the waters began to reach life threatening levels.

All is lost –Myint Oo sharing the struggles the community faces to MR field staff, in front of his inundated 8-hectares padi field

This level of unprecedented flooding have also seen the rise of many grassroots initiatives formed to render aid and relief supplies. However, the management of these private endeavors are crucial to ensure there is no duplication of aid and that these efforts are being maintained in a sustainable way. “We are constantly worried about our land and what lies ahead as our struggles are only beginning” says local farmer, Myint OO, 52, as he looks towards his submerged farmland.

Mercy Relief to disburse food supply in Rakhine

Singapore-born humanitarian organisation, Mercy Relief, has been in Myanmar since Friday providing food aid and relief supplies to displaced communities.

The team will conduct Relief Distribution Operations (RDOs) in the worst-hit Rakhine state (Kyawtaw Township) on Monday and Tuesday, providing food supplies such as rice, oil, canned fish and salt. The distribution from a tranche of $30,000 will benefit more than 700 households, with each food pack able to last them for at least 2 weeks.

“The issue of food security is heightened due to the damage of arable farm land. In Rakhine where only one cropping is possible, it is critical aid agencies continue to provide food aid at this juncture,” explains Mercy Relief’s International Programme Senior Manager, Carol Liew who is currently in the field.

 

Homes and community facilities such as this village school, partially submerged in the rising floodwaters.

 

What used to be a road, now no longer visible.

Like other NGOs and local volunteer groups, transporting the relief supplies to the villages will pose challenges, as most roads are no longer accessible. Chairman Michael Tay says, “Mercy Relief will continue to provide assistance to the displaced communities despite these challenges. After this acute relief phase, plans for rehabilitation intervention can be included if we succeed in raising more funds.

About Mercy Relief

Mercy Relief is a Singaporean humanitarian organisation which engages in both disaster relief and sustainable development programmes. It was established in 2003 as an independent non-governmental humanitarian charity responding to the human tragedies in Asia. Mercy Relief’s aid programme focuses on providing timely and effective assistance to disaster-stricken communities and has maintained the delivery of emergency aid within 72 hours from the point of appeal for assistance. 

In the past 12 years, Mercy Relief has disbursed over S$32 million in aid across 40 disaster relief and 53 sustainable development initiatives. Mercy Relief has impacted an aggregate of 2 million lives in 24 countries and areas, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, DPR Korea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal,  Pakistan, Palestine, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and Yemen.

For more information, you may call us at 6514 6322 or email corporateaffairs@mercyrelief.org