On the night of 2 May 2008, Cyclone Nargis struck the Ayerwaddy delta in the south of Myanmar. This was the worst natural disaster to ever strike the country. Around 140,000 people were killed as whole villages were swept away.
More than 2.4 million were affected by the disaster as houses were destroyed, crops washed away and livelihoods lost. Water sources were destroyed or contaminated putting people at risk of serious disease.
One year on, Islamic Relief has now completed its relief and rehabilitation activities in Myanmar. Below is a summary of the work that we have achieved in the last 12 months.
After the disaster Islamic Relief focused on assisting communities who had received no previous aid. We worked closely with local communities to assess the needs on the ground and to ensure we were able to assist a cross section of religious and ethnic groups.
Islamic Relief’s projects were implemented in the townships of Labutta, Kyauktan and Dedaye.
After the disaster we distributed food parcels to more than 8,000 families. Hygiene kits were provided to 7,800 families to reduce the spread of disease, and kitchen sets, mosquito nets and blankets were given to 4,000 families, many of whom had lost all their possessions in the disaster.
Immediately after the Cyclone Islamic Relief provided plastic sheeting to 3,000 families so that they could construct temporary shelters. We have also built more than 1,000 durable houses for Cyclone-affected families that are raised above the ground to prevent damage from future flooding.
The vast majority of people living in the Ayerwaddy Delta make a living from agriculture. But farmland and crops were washed away and tools and equipment destroyed leaving people with no source of income.
Islamic Relief worked with leading agricultural experts, International Development Enterprises, to help farmers rehabilitate their fields by funding seeds, tractors and fertiliser to enable farmers to plant rice before the monsoon season.
To assist fishermen who had lost their boats and equipment in the disaster, Islamic Relief provided 280 fishing boats and nets so they could restart their livelihoods.
1,700 schools were destroyed in the Cyclone and many more were seriously damaged. Islamic Relief repaired six schools in Hmaw Be Township and supported a local organisation to build 15 pre-schools in Labutta and Ngapudaw. We also provided new school furniture to 100 primary schools in Dedaye.
Water and sanitation
As a result of the Cyclone water sources were destroyed or contaminated, leaving people vulnerable to waterborne diseases. Supporting our partner ADRA, Islamic Relief cleaned ponds which communities use as their source of drinking water and which had been contaminated by sea water. We also set up water storage tanks in areas with no access to clean drinking water and distributed 16,000 jerry cans to enable people to collect water.