- Posted November 30, 2011 by
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Buma/Myanmar: One year after Cyclone Giri communities continue to rebuild
Yangon/Bangkok November 2011: A year after Cyclone Giri slammed into towns and villages along the coastline of Rakhine state, communities are starting to recover from the destruction caused by this massive storm. A concerted effort by NGOs and UN agencies with the financial support of the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) has enabled the communities to re-construct their homes or build new shelters before the new monsoon season. From living in plastic shelters just after the storm razed their homes to the ground, thousands of families now live in properly constructed shelters. Livelihoods were re-established through the rehabilitation of farm land resulting in a rice harvest, just a year after the storm. Dykes were rebuild in a cash-for-work program, farmers received tools and seeds, shelters were rebuild with material supplied locally.
David Verboom, Head of ECHO’s regional office in Bangkok who is currently visiting Burma/Myanmar, recalls that aid agencies which rushed to the affected townships in late October 2010 quickly realised that the survivors would face several key challenges: "There are dozens of small villages on dozens of islands along the coastline which can only be reached by boat" he explained. "While the sea is one of the biggest sources of income for these communities it also poses a serious threat to their farms and homes through strong seasonal storms and floods which destroy their paddies and drown their livestock".
Early warning messages issued before the storm made landfall on 21 October 2010 enabled tens of thousands to move to safety. While many lives were saved, the destruction caused by the strong winds and storm surges to the impoverished communities was extensive. After the cyclone, ECHO made Euro 8 million (US$10.8million) available to address need for shelter, non-food items and early livelihood recovery.