Displaced children using a water pump in Rakhine State, Burma.
Displaced children using a water pump in Rakhine State, Burma.
Brian Heidel/USAID

Key Developments

As of August 14, flooding caused by heavy monsoon rains had resulted in more than 100 deaths, displaced nearly 300,000 households, and affected more than 1.3 million people in 13 of Burma’s 14 states and regions, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management. Floods had damaged or destroyed more than 15,000 houses and affected approximately 1.4 million acres of farmland, as well as numerous roads, bridges, schools, health facilities, and monasteries, according to the Government of Burma (GoB).

While flood levels receded in some areas, President Thein Sein of Burma urged people residing in the country’s southern delta region to temporarily evacuate as floodwaters flowed southward towards Ayeyarwady, Bago, and Yangon regions. As a result, more than 61,000 households—approximately 268,000 people—had preemptively evacuated from Ayeyarwady and Bago as of August 8, according to international media reports. The GoB Department of Meteorology and Hydrology forecasts that additional rainfall in the coming days could cause further flooding in Ayeyarwady, where floods have already affected nearly 380,000 people, according to OCHA.

Humanitarian assessments indicate that the most urgent needs among flood-affected populations include access to food and safe drinking water, agricultural support, and shelter supplies.

Following U.S. Ambassador Derek J. Mitchell’s August 4 disaster declaration for Burma, the U.S. government has announced $4.5 million in humanitarian support to flood-affected populations in Burma.


Ongoing conflicts in multiple states of Burma have resulted in increased internal displacement and humanitarian needs in recent years. In June 2011, a ceasefire between the GoB and the KIO broke down, leading to an upsurge in conflict and associated displacement. In western Burma’s Rakhine State, several bouts of ethnic clashes starting in June 2012 resulted in casualties, property damage, and internal displacement. In Mandalay Region, clashes between Buddhist and Muslim residents of Meiktila city in March 2013 resulted in significant displacement and property damage in Meiktila and surrounding areas.

In addition, Burma faces a number of natural hazards, particularly cyclones, floods, and earthquakes. In May 2008, Cyclone Nargis made landfall in Burma’s Irrawaddy Delta, killing more than 84,000 people and devastating Burma’s agriculture sector and fishing industry.

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Last updated: August 18, 2015

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