WASH in emergencies and cluster coordination
Reaching conflict and natural disaster-affected vulnerable people with basic water, sanitation and hygiene facilities
Myanmar is prone to climate-related emergencies such as cyclones, droughts and flooding on a regular basis. At the same time, many thousands of people are displaced by conflicts.
People in emergency situations in often hard-to-reach areas struggle to access basic water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene, as well as adequate sanitation facilities. In shelters and camps for the displaced, vulnerable groups such as people with disabilities, children, and women are even more in need of life-saving and life-sustaining water and sanitation facilities.
The multiple ongoing conflicts and natural hazards in different parts of Myanmar require continuous support and the building of a strong, coordinated national emergency response system that can cope with current and future needs.
This includes strengthening national and local coordination systems and ensuring sufficient allocation of resources. Improving early warning systems is needed, in order to better anticipate slow-onset disasters such as droughts and floods. The capacity of district and township staff will need to be continually strengthened to ensure a robust response in the early stages of an emergency. And effective systems are needed to provide longer-term humanitarian support to maintain basic services for thousands of internally displaced people.
More than 800,000 people were in need of humanitarian support, including adequate basic WASH facilities, in 2018.
UNICEF supports the Government and civil society partners to deliver rapid and effective WASH services during emergencies to ensure girls, boys and women have the supplies and facilities they need during crises. UNICEF has been providing national and sub national level cluster coordination and leadership support.
UNICEF reached an estimated 333,910 people with humanitarian WASH response through Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), government counterparts and direct implementation across seven states and regions covering protracted emergencies and monsoon floods.
We work continuously with the Government and partners to operationalize the national strategy for WASH in emergencies. This means helping to build capacity among key officials at national and local levels, strengthening operational emergency supply systems to be prepared for immediate and longer-term crisis situations, and ensuring harmonized responses on water and sanitation challenges across different key sectors such as health, nutrition and education.
Building stronger coordination among key ministries, including functional and accountable coordination mechanisms and effective supply systems, will continue to be needed at national and sub-national levels. UNICEF will continue to lead advocacy for resources including in water and sanitation during emergencies, based on the humanitarian needs and on the UNICEF Core Commitments for Children, which is our guiding principle to uphold the rights of children in emergencies.