Yangon, Myanmar, 20 February, 2015 - A seismic hazard assessment for Yangon City has been launched by the Yangon Regional Government, the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) and UN-Habitat in collaboration with the Relief and Resettlement Department (RRD), the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement (MSWRR) at the Yangon City Hall.
Yangon, the commercial capital of Myanmar with a population of 5 million, lies along the Sagaing fault and the city has been undergoing rapid transformation as part of the broader market oriented reform process by the Government. The assessment will be undertaken by the Myanmar Geo-Sciences Society and the Myanmar Earthquake Committee in collaboration with the City Development Committee, academic universities and the private sector.
Local, regional and international collaboration on risk assessment
The project is supported by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) as part of the DIPECHO IX Action Plan for South East Asia in Myanmar, and by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is implemented by UN-Habitat as part of the Myanmar Consortium for Community Resilience (MCCR).
The launch meeting brought together over 100 participants from Regional Government, the Yangon City Development Committee, universities, professional society, Myanmar Red Cross Society, members of the Disaster Risk Reduction Working Group and the media. Dr. Myint Thein, Social Welfare Minister, Yangon Regional Government stressed the importance of both structural and non-structural mitigation measures to address disaster risk and the importance of understanding the risks through sound assessment to guide the development process including awareness raising and promoting earthquake resistant buildings.
The current efforts to undertake seismic hazard assessment for Yangon city, builds on the past work of earthquake risk assessment for Bago, Sagaing and Taungoo supported by the the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) through the Myanmar Consortium for Community Resilience (MCCR,) noted Mr. Nicolas Louis, Head of ECHO’s Yangon office.
Changing urban landscapes
Mr. Bijay Karmacharya, UN-Habitat’s Myanmar Country Programme Manager, highlighted that Cities and urban centres along the Sagaing fault have in the past experienced major earthquakes and those cities have undergone substantial changes over the years. In 1930, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Bago region which caused extensive damage and killed around 500 people including around 50 in Yangon city alone, then with a population of just 0.4 million.
The assessment process will also lead to building national capacities to undertake such assessment in other cities which are equally prone to earthquakes, he highlighted in the speech. Experts from the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology, Myanmar Earthquake Committee and Myanmar Geosciences Society (MGS) presented the lessons learned from recent earthquakes and status of seismic hazard assessment in the country. Experts also discussed the framework, the partnership and collaboration for undertaking the hazard assessment.
About the Myanmar Consortium for Community Resilience
The Myanmar Consortium for Community Resilience (MCCR) is part of the DIPECHO IX Action Plan for South East Asia in Myanmar. MCCR is comprised of five international NGOs - Aid, Plan International, Oxfam, Help Age International, Action Contre la Faim - and UN-Habitat.