ADB Builds Resilience for Chin State Livelihoods in Myanmar

Video | 28 January 2020

Chin State in North-western Myanmar – This remote, mountainous region with its low population density, is a harsh yet beautiful environment – but one also vulnerable to climate and disaster risk. 

In 2015 cyclone Komen struck Myanmar, triggering widespread flooding and devastating landslides. Chin State, was badly affected with disrupted transportation links between villages and severely impacting access to community services causing great hardship to many of its rural population.

In response, ADB through a grant from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction and in coordination with the Myanmar government, initiated the Emergency Support for Chin State Livelihoods Restoration Project to re-establish village access, restore community infrastructure and improve disaster resilience.

The Project is helping build resilience in vulnerable rural communities by ensuring they have the necessary infrastructure, capacity, support and know-how to deal with the effects of climate change and disaster risk while creating opportunities for improving lives and livelihoods.

Transcript

Chin State in North-western Myanmar – This remote, mountainous region with its low population density, is a harsh yet beautiful environment – but one also vulnerable to climate and disaster risk.  

In 2015 cyclone Komen struck Myanmar, triggering widespread flooding and devastating landslides. Chin State, was badly affected with disrupted transportation links between villages and severely impacting access to community services causing great hardship to many of its rural population.

Daw Mercy, Retired School Director, Manu Village, Hakha Township
“In the past the road conditions were very poor here and our daily survival was extremely difficult.  As there is no hospital or clinic here in our community, we relied on Hakha General Hospital. When someone was sick we had to carry them by hand all the way to the city of Hakha by using a stretcher.”

In response, ADB through a grant from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction and in coordination with the Myanmar government, initiated the Emergency Support for Chin State Livelihoods Restoration Project to re-establish village access, restore community infrastructure and improve disaster resilience.

Implemented by the Department of Rural Development in partnership with ADB, UNOPS and the Network Activities Group, the project supported more than 250,000 people in targeted communities regain access to roads and community services and given employment opportunities to tens of thousands, many of whom are women. In addition, 139 village tracts have received disaster risk awareness materials, equipment and training to strengthen the capacity of local communities and disaster committees to better respond to climate change and disaster risks. 

Daw Dawt Iang, Housewife, Sakta Village Tract, Hakha Township 
“We learned about the early warning system, so as soon as we hear about a cyclone coming to this area, we now know where our family should go for protection like going to a church or the village school for shelter.  We gained awareness on disaster preparedness by attending the Disaster Management Training.”  

1,300km of village access roads have been repaired.  Water diverting culverts have been built and 2,607m of retaining walls have been constructed.  Using innovative bio-engineering techniques, vegetation was planted to retain soil and stabilize slopes. And one 21m Bailey Bridge constructed.

Drainage systems that divert water away from key roads have been constructed. In addition, 47 new or reconstructed water supply systems - built and are maintained by the villagers themselves – are providing a reliable source of fresh water.

U Van Biak Thawng, Village Chief, Dilaupa Village, Hakha Township
“Successfully implementing a good water supply system has really improved our community’s standard of living. Now my wife can save a lot of time as she no longer needs to boil unclean water. There are so many improvements to our health as well and household chores like cleaning are much easier than before. And we can grow vegetables more easily and wash them properly with clean water for our health.”

And finally, 25 electricity producing micro-hydro and solar power systems have been installed in villages that had existed without electricity for decades.
 
Daw Sui Sin Eng, Housewife, Tlang Hmun Village, Falam Township  
“Our village has had a good experience with hydropower. In the past we had to finish our cooking and housework early and students had to study before the sunlight disappeared. I highly recommend implementing and installing a micro hydropower system in other villages where there’s no electricity connection.”

The Project is helping build resilience in vulnerable rural communities by ensuring they have the necessary infrastructure, capacity, support and know-how to deal with the effects of climate change and disaster risk while creating opportunities for improving lives and livelihoods.