Villagers of Yin Yein receive livestock and farming assistance in CERF-funded FAO project

Villagers of Yin Yein receive livestock and farming assistance in CERF-funded FAO project

11/04/2016

Living on the banks of the Chindwin River in Myanmar's Sagaing region, Daw Nye Mya (60) reports that she "had never seen flooding as bad" as the floods which swept through her village in July and August 2015. When the floods first hit, she and her three daughters fled to the hills with only the clothes on their backs. The villagers from Yin Yein used small boats to ferry the children and elderly first and took their valuable livestock with them. A month later a second wave of flooding followed.

It was three months before they could return to their homes and begin to recover their agricultural livelihoods. But even after the initial floodwaters had receded the mud left behind was two feet thick, making access difficult to impossible. Those with land close to the river found their plots covered in several feet of mud which dried hard and cracked. Some could afford the extra cost of a heavy tractor to prepare the land but many others had to abandon their plots.

Those like Daw Nye Mya with land on higher ground were also impacted significantly. "When the floods came, the torrential heavy rains caused the upper layer of soil to be washed away. The soil fertility decreased and my yield [of groundnut and pigeon pea] was only half the yield of the previous year," said Daw Nye Mya.

As head of her household, Daw Nye Mya grows sesame, groundnut and pigeon pea on ten acres of land. She employs some casual labourers while two of her daughters also work the land to make enough money to fund a third daughter who attends university in Monywa. But the outlook for her daughter's tertiary education is precarious.

"With the impact of the floods and the unpredictable climate [not knowing when the rains will come], it is very difficult to plan the purchase of labour. I am very worried that I will not be able to continue paying for my daughter's university," she said. The Sagaing region was one of the hardest hit in the 2015 floods and was officially declared a natural-disaster-affected zone by the Government at the end of July. Nearly 45 000 hectares of paddy area were damaged in the region which also recorded the highest livestock losses.

FAO, together with implementing partner Solidarités International, is assisting 79 farmer households and landless families from Yin Yein through the provision of 54 agricultural and home gardening kits and 50 piglets in advance of the next rainy season. This is part of a larger project - funded by the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) administered by UN OCHA - which will assist more than 50 000 flood-affected individuals in four townships of Sagaing region.

Daw Nye Mya expressed her thanks for FAO's assistance, saying "We are very hopeful that the fertiliser and seeds from FAO will be helpful in the upcoming crop season to increase the yield and improve quality". FAO has called for a total of USD 12.1 million to provide assistance to 332 750 conflict- and flood-affected people under the 2016 Humanitarian Response Plan for Myanmar.

With 2016 funding to date, around 62,000 people will be assisted by FAO. Under funding received in 2015, an additional 93 000 flood-affected people are being assisted. A further USD 7.6 million is urgently required to reach the total target population for 2016.