First focus on reducing impact of drought, and later on relief

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As anticipated, drought has arrived in our country, mostly affecting sections of the nation’s rural areas.
The record temperature of 47.5C recorded in Chauk township in Magwe on May 8, the highest in the country in 52 years, and the above normal temperatures across the country, has put us on alert to prepare for combating drought, rather than dealing with its aftermath.
Reports include vivid pictures of rural people receiving donated water from philanthropic associations, as well as authorities warning us that our country is one of the most vulnerable countries at risk from the climate crisis.
Last year, the number of villages facing water shortage rose from the expected number, to reach nearly 400 nationwide.
According to the Global Climate Risk Index 2020, Myanmar has had the highest weather-related losses in the past two decades, alongside Puerto Rico and Haiti.
The drought has delivered a threat to crop production and the needs of those living in rural areas, where over 70 per cent of the country’s population resides.
The dry zone in Myanmar lies within the central portion of the country, home to nearly one-third of Myanmar’s total population. According to media reports, temperatures there are projected to rise by up to three degrees Celsius (3° C) after 2040.
According to the Myanmar Climate Change Alliance, which is a body that straddles the United Nations, the government and civil society, the total monsoon period has already decreased from 144 days per year in 1998 to 125 days.
The number of extremely hot days is projected to increase from one day a month to between four and 17 by 2041. This will cause serious health problems to local residents, and damage ecosystems, crops and infrastructure.
Weather experts have warned that the central dry zone of Myanmar suffers a significant climate change impact due to droughts and floods, resulting in the destruction of crops and increased vulnerability for farm households.
The Myanmar Climate Change Strategy 2018-2030 was drafted by the country’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC), with assistance from other organizations. The long-term goal of this strategy is to achieve climate-resilience and a low-carbon growth pathway to support inclusive and sustainable development by 2030.
Whether we will achieve that long-term goal depends significantly on field operators, because disaster mitigation always requires changes in people’s habits and mindsets to properly work.
And bear in mind, if we fail to preserve our water, it might someday kills us.

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