The Government of Japan will fund a UN-HABITAT project to assist victims of the cyclone Nargis disaster in Myanmar, to the tune of USD4 million.
The Community Water Supply and Sanitation Recovery Project aims to improve the health of families in the Delta who were affected by the Cyclone Nargis in May 2008, by providing access to safe water and sanitation facilities, while raising awareness of hygiene and health related issues.
The project also supports the objectives of the post-Nargis Recovery and Reconstruction Plan.
Cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar on 2 and 3 May 2008, making landfall in the Ayeyarwady Division and directly hitting the capital Yangon, causing the worst natural disaster in the recorded history of Myanmar. The cyclone caused catastrophic destruction and at least 146,000 people died, with thousands more still missing.
Some 40 townships in Yangon Division and seven townships in Ayeyarwady Division, with an estimated population of 2.5 million were designated as disaster areas.
The main source of water for rural communities in the Delta is rainwater. Due to the damage done by Nargis, water shortages will continue in many areas throughout the dry season and when the rains do come in June, rain water collection and harvesting will be minimal due to the destruction of harvesting systems during Nargis.
Ponds, wells and rainwater harvesting equipment were all destroyed along with the shelters which provided much of the catchment area (roofing). In addition to water shortage, most sanitation facilities were destroyed, which has resulted in increasingly unhygienic sanitation practices.
The project will work with 250 communities rebuilding water and sanitation infrastructure at the community level, including schools, village ponds, deep tube wells, and at household level will provide improved access to water and sanitation. The project will serve Bogalay, Dedaye, Kungyangon, Pyapon, and Kyailat. In the event of severe water shortage, UN-HABITAT will support water distribution to 10 villages.
UN-HABITAT has eight years of experience in successfully implementing water and sanitation programmes in Myanmar. The Community Water Supply and Sanitation Project was implemented from 1994 through 2002 by UN-HABITAT engaged as the implementing agency for UNDP. The project was a considerable success and provided a wealth of learning. The new Japan-funded project will build on the experience of the Community Water Supply and Sanitation Recovery Project and also collaborate with the Water for Asian Cities Programme.