© UNICEF/NYHQ2008-1714/Holmes

A woman carries a UNICEF hygiene kit in We Chaung Village in the Ayeyarwaddy River Delta. Some 1.2 million people still need humanitarian assistance after the 2008 cyclone and only 43 per cent of Delta residents have access to adequate sanitation facilities.

Critical Issues for Children and Women

After Cyclone Nargis devastated parts of Myanmar in May 2008, some 1.2 million people in nine townships are still in need of humanitarian assistance.  Although progress has been made in 2009 in supporting the needs of those displaced by the disaster, economic hardship in the cyclone-stricken areas has decreased access to basic education and health and nutrition services.  Securing sustainable livelihoods and improved shelter remain key challenges. In addition, the slow pace of reconstruction of schools and health facilities means that too many children are still having to attend school in temporary structures, or worse still, are dropping out of school altogether.

Planned Humanitarian Action for 2010

In 2010, UNICEF will partner the Government of Myanmar, United Nations agencies and township authorities in recovery efforts in line with the Core Commitments for Children in the areas of health and nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, education and child protection to reduce vulnerabilities among the estimated 1.2 million people in nine remaining cyclone-affected townships.  UNICEF will also undertake a national gap analysis to assess the level of emergency preparedness in each of these key sectors.  As leader of the inter-agency Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Nutrition and Education Thematic Groups, as well of the Child Protection Working Group, UNICEF will work with partners to ensure improved coordination of humanitarian action and with the Government to develop national capacity for emergency preparedness and disaster risk reduction. Following are the expected results of UNICEF emergency interventions:

Health and Nutrition: UNICEF will continue to support revitalization of essential maternal and child health services, such as immunization and prevention and treatment of diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria. All emergency-affected children under five, as well as 100,000 pregnant and lactating women, will benefit from an enhanced level of nutrition care resulting from improved case management and treatment of severe acute malnutrition, nutrition surveillance, micronutrient supplementation, and health and nutrition education.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH): The UNICEF-led WASH Thematic Group will work to provide home hygiene education and access to sufficient water and sanitation facilities at the household level for some 200,000 beneficiaries. The problem of water shortages during the dry season will continue to be addressed through pond construction and the distribution of ceramic jars for household rainwater collection.

Education: As the lead agency coordinating education recovery efforts, UNICEF will work with key partners to reduce the drop-out rate among 200,000 schoolchildren affected by Cyclone Nargis and to provide non-formal life-skills education to vulnerable children who are in need of special assistance.

Child Protection: Children and women affected by the disaster, either by family separation, exploitation or domestic abuse, will receive improved levels of psychosocial support through communication materials, vocational training and a network of 158 community support groups. In all 158 disaster-affected localities, mechanisms and systems for reporting, monitoring and responding to violations against women and children will be strengthened.

Summary of UNICEF Emergency Needs to fulfil
Core Commitments for Children for 2010
Sector US$
Health and Nutrition 6,000,000
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) 5,000,000
Education 5,500,000
Child Protection 1,500,000
Total 18,000,000