IOM’s programming in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Disaster Management is aimed at reducing risk, while improving preparedness in disaster management and resilience associated with natural disasters. There is a particular focus on communities in conflict and border areas where there are high concentrations of internal migrants and cross-border migrants. Additionally, there is a focus on the seasonally disaster-prone coastal area of Rakhine and the mountainous region of Chin and Sagaing, which is prone to flooding and landslides.

Myanmar is exposed to multiple natural hazards including cyclones, storm surges, floods, fires, forest fires, earthquakes, tsunamis, droughts and landslides. Its western and southern coastlines are exposed to cyclones, storm surges and tsunamis while major parts of the country are at risk of earthquakes and fires. Alongside the risk of natural disasters, the border areas experience intense population movements, due to long-standing conflicts and internal population displacements. There are multiple connecting points between Myanmar’s varied displacement/movement profiles and with the areas susceptibility to natural disaster it makes for a unique combination of vulnerability.

IOM has been implementing the Program for Improved Disaster Management and Resilience Against Natural Disaster in Rakhine State, Chin State and Sagaing Region, Burma/Myanmar (IDM-RAND), a programme funded by USAID’s Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). The programme aims to improve the readiness of the government, to increase the resilience of the communities, to prevent potential migration outflows from disaster affected areas, and to promote safe and orderly migration to safe relocation areas.

Priority activities include:

  • Improving the quality of risk mitigation/preparedness and emergency response at both State and Township levels
  • Providing planning tools and information for evacuation and resettlement planning
  • Encouraging community-based, organization-led DRR
  • Improving disaster management skills among full range of Disaster Risk Management (DRM) actors at State and Township levels

The programme is concerned with the inclusion of internal migrants due to the fact that natural disasters are one of the major causes of outwards migration. IOM provides humanitarian assistance in cases of natural disasters, covering the initial emergency response all the way to early recovery. One such case was support provided after Cyclone Komen in 2015 and the resulting floods and landslides. IOM assisted in disaster recovery for communities in Rakhine State, Chin State and Sagaing Region that were most affected by the extensive flash floods and landslides caused by Cyclone Komen.

IOM’s activities include:

  • Providing psychosocial support to displaced and affected populations
  • Carrying out basic infrastructure improvements in displacement sites including by promoting safe construction practices and local employment through ‘cash for work’ programmes.
  • Ensuring livelihood recovery through provision of livelihood assets, seeds for farming and building capacity and skills building
  • Carrying out repairs of community water infrastructure and the rebuilding of the damaged homes of the affected
  • Developing a Shelter Improvement Training Package together with the provision of Safe Construction Kits and Winterization/Non-Food Item (NFI) kits.
Humanitarian Response and Clusters

IOM is the global co-lead for the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster along with UNHCR in Myanmar. IOM, in coordination with UNHCR and the Shelter/NFI/CCCM Clusters is providing targeted capacity building to Government Agencies and organizations working in camp management of the Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps in Myanmar.

IOM has conducted needs assessments and is providing organizations and government counterparts with capacity-building, training and support on CCCM. This activity is in support of Myanmar’s efforts at national contingency planning for the risk of natural disasters.

Collective Center Management

Through its Disaster Risk Reduction Programme and displacement management capacity building activities, IOM is supporting the local authorities and community mechanisms with the aim to prevent and mitigate the effect of disasters on the population. As monasteries often become collective centers during crisis in Rakhine State, IOM is collaborating with the Myanmar Consortium for Community Resilience (MCCR) in pursuing the engagement and reinforcing monks and monastic school teachers’ technical capacity to better manage displacement by providing collective center management trainings to them. The intervention is funded by the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) and the training curriculum includes the Disaster Management Cycle, roles and responsibilities during disasters, assistance in collective centers, Sphere minimum standards, protection, participation, coordination and collective center closure. The trainings are based on the collective center guidelines developed by the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Global Cluster Members in 2008.

Community Resilience Project

The Community Resilience project aims to help reduce the flow of irregular migrants from Rakhine State by improving living conditions of both Muslim and Rakhine communities. The project builds upon IOM’s existing disaster risk reduction (DRR) coverage of five townships of Rakhine State, as well as humanitarian support within the area.

In pursuit of this objective, IOM Myanmar helps ensure resilience against natural disasters by improving facilities, livelihoods and economic conditions in target communities of Rakhine State in addition to the development of short and midterm community development plans. These plans include identifying community priorities and implementing community-development focused approaches for the construction or rehabilitation of infrastructure, provision of quick impact livelihood options which utilize ‘cash for work’ approaches, and improving access to markets and farm practices.
By adopting a community resilience-based approach, IOM proposes to establish clusters of target villages rather than targeting disparate townships. This aims to capture opportunities for collaboration and interaction between communities by encouraging economic and social linkages. IOM will promote cohesive communities and work through existing government structures, such as the village tract development committees. Community resilience will also be increased through upgrades to essential services, infrastructure, livelihood and economic conditions in target communities of Rakhine State.

Humanitarian Assistance

IOM is implementing the ‘Addressing the humanitarian needs of communities affected by violence in Central and Northern Rakhine State’ project with the support of the USAID-OFDA. The intervention is aim at providing humanitarian assistance to the communities who are at risk or who have special needs. The beneficiaries for the humanitarian NFI assistance component were selected in consideration of their level of risk exposed to their vulnerability (i.e. Persons with Disability, Person with serious health problem, Children at risk, single headed households, elderly persons), ensuring that the provision of commodities that are necessary for the use of the affected populations in a coordinated, fair and organized manner, while strengthening their coping mechanisms, and taking account of their specific needs and cultural values. IOM is also collaborating closely with NFI cluster, WASH cluster, community and camp management committees to avoid duplication in providing NFI assistance to the communities and to get accurate population data. IOM has also provided grant support for the construction of community basic infrastructure such as concrete road, jetty steps, retaining walls and concrete pathway in the target communities. 

Main Projects
  • Humanitarian Assistance
  • DRR – Disaster Risk Reduction
  • Community Resilience