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Myanmar: Securing vital communication lines for flood relief operations

Torrential rains triggered by Cyclone Komen have been bringing devastating damages to Myanmar since the end of July, leaving 96 people dead and 122,200 families displaced due to floods and landslides. Of 17 million people living in the inundated areas, 590,000 people have been severely affected.

In response, Peace Winds Japan (PWJ) distributed solar lanterns to the township-level offices of Relief and Resettlement Department (RRD) in the affected areas, which can be seen an extension of the disaster risk reduction project PWJ has been implementing in Myanmar since 2014, aiming to build up the coping and coordinating capacities of the local authorities, NGOs and communities in time of disasters.

In Myanmar, no more than 30 % of the households are electrified, and this rate goes significantly down in villages in the rural areas affected by the present disaster. Those solar lanterns distributed by PWJ are equipped with batteries and USB terminals, and are useful not only for lighting but also for charging small electric devices. The lanterns are now being used by RRD officers working in the non-electrified villages without telephone lines for charging their mobile phones, which are indispensable when communicating vital messages as they pursue their relief work. Total of 420 units of solar lanterns have been delivered to the affected townships in Magway, Ayeyarwady, and Kayin Regions/State.

With the focus of assistance changing from emergency relief to recovery, PWJ is currently planning on projects for rehabilitating livelihoods of the affected population.

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