Media centre

Press releases

UNICEF's positions

Celebrities

Contact the media team

 

UNICEF prepares to support Myanmar as Cyclone Mahasen approaches

SITTWE, Myanmar, 16 May 2013 - As Cyclone Mahasen threatens to hit the communities in Rakhine State, home to thousands of displaced people, UNICEF stands ready to support the government of Myanmar to respond to humanitarian needs.

The living conditions of the people in Rakhine are already precarious as a result of inter-communal conflict and displacement.  Should the storm make heavy landfall, their situation will become very fragile.

Even if direct hits are averted, heavy rainfall and possible flooding that come with the cyclone is likely to deteriorate sanitation and safe water supply, with subsequent increased health threats especially for children.

Together with other UN agencies and international NGOs, UNICEF is working closely with the Myanmar government to make sure that local residents are relocated to relatively safe areas, and that stockpiles in warehouses meet needs.

The agency has increased its human resource capacity, sending additional staff to Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine, over the past two days.
“UNICEF, along with other UN agencies and INGOs, is busy in Sittwe, especially in the northern part of Rakhine, to make sure that supply, provision and human resource capacity are deployed and to review different mechanisms to respond” said Bertrand Bainvel, UNICEF Representative in Myanmar.

UNICEF fully supports the commitment expressed by President Thein Sein and the Government of Myanmar at a press conference in Yangon this morning, to carry out emergency preparedness and response without racial and religious discrimination, and to save every life as the utmost priority.

The press conference detailed out government’s actions in relocating vulnerable population to safety and its response plans in consultation with communities. The government has sought international cooperation and contribution in responding to the emergency.

Along with other international humanitarian agencies, UNICEF urges the government to ensure transparency, accountability, regular and open channels of communication, coordination and timely action in carrying out relief and response activities.

“It is important that all communities at risk are reached out on the basis of humanitarian principles and equity,” said Bainvel.  “The cyclone can exacerbate vulnerability of the IDPs but this can also be a time when divisions along religious and ethnic lines can be transcended, and when solidarity for the most vulnerable, especially children, can unite people- and we should not miss this opportunity.” 

UNICEF is also looking into increasing its preparedness in other parts of the country such as Chin State, Mandalay region and Kachin, where strong winds and heavy rainfalls may further worsen the situation of vulnerable communities.

The agency also calls for greater financial support especially in WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene), noting that earlier attempts have produced insufficient results for such critical life-savings interventions.

About UNICEF
UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

In June 2012, the Governments of Ethiopia, India and the United States with UNICEF launched a global roadmap to end preventable deaths of children under the age of five. Since then, under the banner of Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed, more than 173 countries have signed up and renewed their commitment to child survival.

For further information, please contact:
Patrick McCormick, UNICEF Geneva, Tel + 41 22 909 5713, Mobile +41 79 303 0541, pmccormick@unicef.org
Zafrin Chowdhury, UNICEF Myanmar, Tel: +95-1-375527-32, zchowdhury@unicef.org

 

 
Search:

 Email this article

unite for children