11 August, 2015 - Plan delivering Myanmar aid; 100% of water contaminated in some areas

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Plan International has found that 100 per cent of drinking water ponds in some flood-hit areas of Myanmar have been contaminated, leaving vulnerable communities heavily reliant on humanitarian organisations to supply them with clean drinking water and filtration systems.

The child rights organisation assessed water in areas such as Minbya Township in Rakhine state, where it has started providing clean drinking water, hygiene kits, aqua tabs and tarpaulins to almost 17,500 people in Minbya Township.

Lifesaving supplies are currently being delivered to some of the hardest hit communities in Rakhine State after heavy monsoon rains and Cyclone Kormen caused large-scale flooding in Myanmar. Plan International is coordinating the distribution of hygiene kits and aqua tabs that will help to prevent the spread of diseases in 22 villages.

However, major needs remain in communities that have been left isolated by floodwaters.

More than 590,000 people have been affected across the country, including 200,000 children. Eighty-nine people have died, and more than 217,000 acres of farmland have been destroyed.

“Water and sanitation, child protection, food distribution and education are our immediate priorities. Children are highly vulnerable after a natural disaster, and we are working closely with other international organisations to ensure aid is getting out,” says Max Baldwin, Emergency Response Manager for Plan International Myanmar.

“Over the coming days we plan to deploy additional staff to flood-affected areas as part of Plan International’s long-term commitment to helping communities in Rakhine recover from these devastating floods,” says Baldwin.

“We need to ensure that children feel safe and protected in times of crisis. We are focused on providing not just emergency supplies but investing in these communities to ensure they recovery as quickly as possible,” Baldwin adds.

In Rakhine State power remains out and schools are closed. Families have started returning to their homes and assessing the damage the flood has caused. Agriculture is the primary source of income and farmers have begun drying out rice in the hope that some of their crop can be salvaged.

Approximately 4,751 houses, 37 schools, 31 bridges have been destroyed in Rakhine state alone.

Plan International has been working in Rakhine State since 2013. The state is the second poorest in the country and is home to the highest unemployment levels and lowest literacy rates in Myanmar.

Children are at the centre of Plan International’s emergency response that will focus on ensuring that all children are safe and schools are re-built so that their lives can return to normal.

Editors’ notes:

Plan is one of the oldest and largest children's development organisations in the world, founded 77 years ago, working in 51 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas and supported by 21 donor countries. Plan is independent, with no religious, political or governmental affiliations.

Media contact: Adam Cathro, Plan International Australia, Media Relations Manager, 0488 202 945