A touchstone for government’s capability, leadership and management

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Ayeyawady Region, dubbed as the rice bowl of Myanmar, is still at risk of flooding, with some of its townships being faced with inundation. Warnings of flash floods still remain active as heavy rains are expected in the region in September. Hundreds of thousands of volunteers together with relief workers are already engaged in laying sand bags along the banks of rivers likely to swell above their danger levels.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, weeks of savage flooding has so far inundated more than 1.2 million acres of rice plantations and caused serious damage to more than 967,000 acres of crop land and transport facilities. The severe flooding has destroyed fields and homes, washing away farm animals and threatening food security. Some 89 deaths have been confirmed so far, with 56 in Rakhine State alone.
In his radio address to the country on 7 August, President U Thein Sein pledged his government’s dedication to the provision of emergency supplies for 237,000 flood victims across the country, stressing that humanitarian assistance will be drawn from available resources in the effort to bring about a return to normality in flood-affected areas.
It is encouraging to hear the president explain the government’s rescue missions and recovery activities, which include the distribution of rice seeds and livestock to farmers in flood-ravaged areas. These measures will no doubt enable farmers to get back on track, but the government is yet to announce the size of its budgets for agricultural needs and recovery activities.

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