Officials are asking for more details about the expenditure of more than K22 billion (US$17 million) set aside for disaster relief over the past year. The funds were allotted in the wake of a season of havoc caused by El Niño-related droughtsfloods and cyclones that devastated large tracts of the country during 2016.

Vice President Henry Van Thio, chair of the National Natural Disaster Management Committee, reported the expenditure at the November 1 meeting of the committee, but without providing details of how much money was to be spent on what kind of relief and rehabilitation, by which departments.

Daw Le’ Le’ Aye, director of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief, and Resettlement, told The Myanmar Times yesterday that the ministry was still awaiting the details from the departments responsible for the extensive relief efforts in many states and regions.

“The work involved was very widespread, so the ministries concerned should each report on what they have done and what they will do. Until then, we don’t know,” she said.

More details are expected to be provided by the Ministry of Construction and Rural Development Department with respect to repairs to roads and bridges, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation for livelihood support operations and the health and education ministries, among others, for recovery and reconstruction processes.

Daw Le’ Le’ Aye said her department provided emergency assistance at times of disaster. “We deliver rice, sardines, beans, and so on for up to seven days initially, and up to a month if need be, as well as temporary tents,” she said.

The vice president urged that any funds disbursed had to be spent effectively, and said a natural disaster management system should be set up including four steps – prevention, preparation, emergency response, and rehabilitation – to respond when natural disasters struck.

An Asia Development Bank study has named Myanmar as the second-most vulnerable country to disasters caused by climate change and the obstacles to development caused by those disasters.


Source: The Myanmar Times | 07 Novemenr 2016

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