On 29 July the Myanmar floods – triggered by Cyclone Komen – caused the country’s worst natural disaster since 2008’s Cyclone Nargis. Families feared for their lives as strong winds tore off bamboo rooftops and flooding and landslides killed livestock and destroyed farmland.
Around 11pm on 29 July, the winds started. 61-year-old Daw Ha Mi Dar checked on her house in Kayu Chaung village, western Myanmar. By midnight her house had collapsed around her and her family. She had to dig herself and her daughter out with her bare hands.
Daw Ha Mi Dar is one of the thousands of people who lost everything when Cyclone Komen devastated the country just over a fortnight ago. So far, over 100 people have lost their lives, while around one million have had their lives turned upside down.
“I had to tear the bamboo sheeting to get away from my collapsed house and my hand was injured while I was doing this,” recalls Daw Ha Mi Dar. “We ran to our neighbour’s stronger house, but I could not carry anything with me. I have lost everything including cups, plates, pots, 15 chickens and one goat.”
The long road to recovery
In nearby Gu Du Tha Ra village, 41-year-old widower and mother Kaw Tiza (pictured with her children in the main picture) recalls the fateful day the floods took away what little she had.
“At around midnight my family ran from our house which was shaking in the strong winds to find shelter in our neighbour’s house. The next morning we had to evacuate again because the flooding started.”
Kaw Tiza was already struggling before the natural disaster. A widower and mother to seven children – all under 14 – she was barely making ends meet as it was. Now, after the cyclone, she has lost the little they had. She hopes to get assistance with livestock to earn a living and get back on her feet.
How CARE is helping
In the wake of the floods in Myanmar (which also hit Bangladesh and India), CARE began distributing emergency relief supplies including cooking utensils, mosquito nets, soap, candles, sleeping mats, water containers and tarpaulins in some of the worst-hit communities.
For some people left with nothing, these seemingly everyday items are a lifeline: “I carried only a blanket and pillow, my house collapsed and all of my belongings, including kitchen utensils and clothes are gone,” said one grateful recipient.
For most, the tarpaulin is proving the most useful item, as it will give some immediate – if temporary – shelter from the continuing rains. “I am very happy to receive this assistance. It will be useful for my family. Now I can start to build temporary shelter with the tarpaulin,” says Annawar Baekaung who lost her house in the floods.
With over one million people affected by the floods in Myanmar, your assistance is needed today to provide life-saving emergency relief in the clean drinking water, food, shelter and hygiene and medical supplies. You can help today by donating to our Global Emergency Fund.