In working in hard-to-reach areas of Myanmar’s Ayeyawaddy River delta region, where many disaster risks from seasonal flooding, riverbank erosion and cyclones affect many vulnerable families, CWS works to help these families, their community leaders and the local government, building both resilience and response capacity. In the past year, in the face of continuing out-migration from the communities where we work, as well as poor families’ imperative priority to work, CWS has redoubled efforts to refresh and renew support to disaster risk reduction volunteers and Disaster Risk Management Committee members to further educate themselves, and new volunteers, about the risks and hazards they face, and then to map the material and human resources they have as well as those they still need for disaster preparedness and evacuation planning. As in past years, following their own information gathering and learning, the volunteers and committee members organized awareness-raising in a new way – using multi-sited billboards with basic DO and DON’T DO messages about most frequent disasters: floods – cyclones – fire. The billboards also have emergency contact information. Additionally, another positive coping strategy people was promoted: mitigation. And, people were engaged, with CWS support, in planning their agreed mitigation actions.
After a recent round of education and training, U Kyaw Htay, the Disaster Risk Management Committee Chairperson in Inn Ma Su village shared this thought, “It is very good for our community to have these education billboards so we are all reminded of the facts about disaster risks frequently faced in our recent past and of the steps to take if a disaster, like flooding, happens. Being reminded of do’s and don’ts before, during and after flooding is very important to us.” Continuing he notes, “I notice many community members, including children, have come to read the message. I feel good that we have learned more about reducing our risk from disasters, and I really appreciate CWS’s support of these awareness raising activities along with WASH, nutrition and livelihood related activities in our village.”
(For more information please contact IKhreusirikul@cwsglobal.org )