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Myanmar: Cyclone Giri Information bulletin n° 1, 24 October 2010

Posted by ေက်ာက္ၿဖဴသားေခ် Thursday, 28 October 2010

This bulletin is being issued for information only, and reflects the current situation and details available at this time. The Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) is currently engaged in assessing the casualties and damages caused by the cyclone. Assessment results will indicate if external donor support is required. Therefore, funding or other assistance from donors is not being sought at this time.
Category 4 Cyclone Giri made landfall in western Myanmar's Rakhine State around 8:00 p.m. (local time) on 22 October, triggering storms, heavy rains and huge tidal surges in coastal areas. Tidal surges hit the islands and coastal areas seven to eight metres above normal water level. The speed of winds was measured as 177 kph (110 mph) upon making landfall.
The most affected townships in Rakhine State are reported to be those in coastal areas, especially Kyaukpyu, Minbya, Munaung, Myebon and Pauktaw. The cyclone damaged infrastructure, buildings and houses in its path towards Magway, Mandalay and Sagaing Divisions. Roads, bridges, utility and telecommunication facilities and houses have been partly or completely destroyed while power supply and phone lines have been cut off, Overall, the number of casualties does not appear high as the authorities and MRCS have taken several cyclone preparedness measures in time.
The Myanmar government and local authorities made public announcements and prepared for timely response, search and rescue before the cyclone hit the country. Red Cross volunteers helped relay early warning messages among communities at risk, setting up relief camps and assisting evacuation efforts. Authorities airlifted food, water and relief supplies to affected areas and plan to airlift more in the coming days. Fire brigade rescue services are also working in the affected areas.
Authorities and various humanitarian agencies are sending assessment teams to the affected areas to establish accurate numbers of those affected and extent of damage caused. The National Disaster Preparedness Coordination Committee (NDPCC) and several ministries are organizing a fact-finding mission in which a small team of humanitarian partners will participate.
MRCS headquarters and state/division branches issued an early warning to respective township branches, which alerted the people concerned and put Red Cross volunteers on standby. In close cooperation with local authorities, township branches were actively engaged in cyclone preparedness.
On 23 October, MRCS held an emergency management meeting and formed an emergency task force comprising representatives of relevant MRCS departments, IFRC and French Red Cross, which will be responsible for the emergency relief operation including the assessment. The National Society has also activated a 24-hour duty system mainly with staff of the disaster management division and put 30 Red Cross volunteers of the Yangon division branch on standby for immediate deployment in operational areas if needed.
Two MRCS assessment teams will be sent to the cyclone-affected areas in Kyaukpyu, Ann, Myebon, Munaung, Sittwe, Pauktaw and Minbya townships on 24 or 25 October, depending on available flights or ferry services. MRCS has disaster preparedness stocks for 1,600 households pre-positioned at its regional warehouses in Sittwe, Kyaukpyu and Thandwe in Rakhine State, and keeps more stocks in 17 regional warehouses in other states/divisions.

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