The Mara people are struggling against the floods | Mission East

The Mara people are struggling against the floods


The floodwaters have washed away bridges, so that the people must carry their things on their back while crossing the rivers. Photo: SDD.
Houses and fields have been totally destroyed by the floodwaters and Mission East’s local partner is struggling to assist the population. Photo: SDD.
Ye Win Tun from Mission East’s partner World Concern is distributing rice in Rakhine State, Burma. Photo: Myo That Naing Win / World Concern.

The worst floods in decades have hit Burma. "Food is the biggest problem," says Mission East’s partner in one of the affected areas.

12 days of constant rain and storms in July and August have caused widespread destruction in Chin State in western Burma. The severe weather is caused by the cyclone Komen, which has raged throughout Southeast Asia this summer, and the situation is still chaotic.

Roads and Bridges Gone

"We have only received limited information from the villages. Because of blocked roads and continuous rain, we cannot travel from one village to another," says Mai Ki from Mission East’s partner, Service and Development Department (SDD) of the Mara Evangelical Church.

The Harvest Destroyed

There are reports of destroyed fields with a harvest which was supposed to provide the food for the population for the next 12 months.

"All rice fields have been flooded. People usually harvest in the last week of September, but now the whole harvest is destroyed, and because of the lack of roads and bridges, we are unable to reach them with food assistance, "says Mai Ki.

Relief Assistance must be carried by foot

The first step is therefore to quickly repair the most central roads, so that relief assistance can be brought out to the villages. The relief assistance will be transported by foot and motorcycle. Another problem is the lack of medical care.

Urgent surgery must be postponed

Like food, medicine cannot reach the villages due to the damaged roads, and people with diseases cannot get to the hospital.

"Our student Ketty urgently needs to have her appendix removed. However, due to mudslides, she cannot get out of the village. Right now she survives on little water, and when the situation improves, our men will have to carry her to India," says Mai Ki.

Mission East supports SDD with bringing emergency relief to the 70 villages, where the organization works.

40,000 Families Homeless

The cyclone Komen has caused serious flooding in Bangladesh, Burma, Pakistan, India, Nepal and Vietnam. The severe flooding and landslides in Burma, where the population is already extremely poor, have already directly affected 1.1 million people. More than 100 people have been killed, and about 40,000 families (240,000 people) have had to flee their homes.

Cooking Oil and Rice

Mission East is part of the relief network, Integral, which helps in the badly hit Rakhine State through the organization World Concern. They currently distribute cooking oil and rice, and provide clean drinking water and sanitation equipment to 7,500 people in seven villages.