Supporting disaster-affected communities to be resilient

Apr 1, 2016

Daw Doi Vang at her potato farm. She received a cash grant so that she was able to restart her farm. Photo: Ne Lynn Aung/UNDP

"After the two-week-long monsoon, the road that connects our village and other villages to Hakha City was destroyed by a landslide. It was the worst landslide during my 62-years- lifespan," U Hrang Lian Khuai, from Loklung village in Hakha Towship of Chin State in Myanmar, recounted about the impacts of landslide and flood caused by torrential rains in July, 2015.

Of the 12 affected states and regions in Myanmar, Chin and Rakhine States -- the poorest regions in the country-- were severely affected; and vulnerable communities were left in desperate conditions.

U Hrang Lian Khuai continued, "The only road we have was totally destroyed so that we were not able to go to Hakha City to buy and sell farm and wood products after the disaster. A week later, the UNDP Hakha team came to our village; and consulted with villagers to repair the destroyed road."

UNDP Myanmar, in consultation with the community, designed and developed a cash-for-work project that was beneficial to all members of the community in Loklung village. Through the cash-for-work project, UNDP Myanmar helped the affected communities to earn income and solve immediate needs during the difficult time, as well as repair roads and irrigation canals.

"More than 400 villagers participated in the cash-for-work road renovation project and they made Kyats 7,000 (About US$ 6) a day. All male and female participants received equal pay for equal work. It was a big help during the difficult time because we had no job after the disaster. Now, villagers from our village, as well as communities from neighboring villages can use this road," said U Hrang Lian Khuai.

UNDP Myanmar also supported communities to restore their livelihoods activities within a few weeks of the disaster. Villagers, particularly widows from disaster-affected villages, received cash grants from UNDP to restart their livelihood activities such as livestock breeding and farming.

Daw Doi Vang, a widow but breadwinner of a five-member-family from Loklong village, lost some parts of her potato and maize farm during the landslide. It was very difficult for Daw Doi Vang to solve food security challenges after the disaster.

The ethnic Chin woman said, "I received Kyats 125,000 (about US$ 100) for agriculture. It was really useful for me because I needed money for land preparation and potato seeds. Now I grow potatoes in my farm, and used the remaining money for fencing."  

"In June 2016, the potatoes will be ready for harvest. I am sure I will have a lot of potatoes. I hope to receive a net profit of Kyats 150,000 (about US$ 125) at the end of harvest season. In addition, I will have potato seeds so that I don't need to worry for next year," said Daw Doi Vang.

More than 6,300 people from disaster-affected villages in Chin State in Myanmar benefited from UNDP’s early recovery programme. Half of the beneficiaries are female and breadwinners from women-headed households.