14 July 2020 – In response to a recent deadly landslide in Hpakant, a jade mining community in Myanmar's northern Kachin state, the European Union is providing €85,000 (some 131 million Myanmar kyat) in humanitarian aid. The funding will directly benefit some 1,500 people affected by the disaster.
The EU funding supports the Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) in delivering continued search and rescue efforts, and the provision of first aid and psychosocial support to those affected. The funding will also support unconditional cash transfers to families, whose main breadwinner were either killed or injured in the disaster. The MRCS warehouse is also providing body bags to ensure the safe and dignified transport of dead bodies.
The funding is part of the EU’s overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
The Hpakant Township in Kachin state has seen heavy rainfall for several days when, in the early morning of 2 July, rainwater saturated the soil at the jade mining area in Wai Khwar village, triggering the formation of large wave of mud. The massive mudslide buried many of the miners, most of them day-labourers from various parts of the country. A total of 172 dead bodies were found and 54 injured miners were transported to local hospitals. Fatality numbers are expected to rise in the coming days as affected areas become more accessible to rescue teams.
The European Union, together with its Member States, is the world's leading donor of humanitarian aid. Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity towards people in need around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises.
Through its European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), the European Union helps over 120 million victims of conflicts and disasters every year. For more information, please visit ECHO's website.
The European Commission has signed a €3 million humanitarian contribution agreement with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). Funds from the DREF are mainly allocated to “small-scale” disasters – those that do not give rise to a formal international appeal.
The Disaster Relief Emergency Fund was established in 1985 and is supported by contributions from donors. Each time a National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society needs immediate financial support to respond to a disaster, it can request funds from the DREF. For small-scale disasters, the IFRC allocates grants from the Fund, which can then be replenished by the donors. The contribution agreement between the IFRC and ECHO enables the latter to replenish the DREF for agreed operations (that fit in with its humanitarian mandate) up to a total of €3 million.
For further information, please contact:
Peter Biro, Regional Information Officer for Asia and the Pacific, European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO): firstname.lastname@example.org