Floods in Myanmar affect thousands: contact to congregations disrupted

The New Apostolic Church in South-East Asia is anxious. Hundreds of thousands of people in Myanmar are affected by the recent floods. Contact has been lost to our Church members in the north of the country.

Myanmar—situated on the Indian Ocean between China and India—always sees flooding in the monsoon season, but this year it has seen the worst in decades. Things were made worse by the landfall of Cyclone Komen at the end of July, which brought high winds and further heavy rain to Myanmar.

Hundreds of thousands of people are affected

The impact on the people is disastrous, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports. More than 122,000 families have sought shelter elsewhere because their homes have been destroyed or are threatened by the massive flooding. Around 400,000 hectares of farmland are submerged. The damage is likely to disrupt the planting season, and that in a country in which 70 per cent of the people farm for a living.

What the people desperately need is food, clean water, sanitation, access to health care, and shelter. Nearly 600,000 people in 12 of the 14 regions are affected, OCHA reports. Large aid organizations such as the Red Cross and its partners have responded, but their work is difficult as many of the heavily affected areas are inaccessible. Much of the infrastructure such as communication services and the power supply have been destroyed.

“This is the worst I have seen in my life”

“This is the worst disaster I have seen in Myanmar in the last 70 years of my life,” the retired Apostle David Thang reports. “Nearly the whole country is affected by heavy rains and floods. There is damage and destruction everywhere. Roads, houses, and properties have been destroyed, and some have died,” he writes. “We do not know if our members are affected or if they are safe.” The New Apostolic Church in Myanmar (formerly Burma) has about 2,100 members in 22 congregations.

Contact to our members in the north has been disrupted, District Apostle Urs Hebeisen reports. Bishop Samuel Tansahtikno will try to visit the region where our congregations are. NACSEA Relief, the aid organization of the New Apostolic Church South-East Asia, is on standby.

“Myanmar needs support in every possible way,” Apostle (ret.) Thang writes. “Please remember Myanmar and pray for us.”

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Andreas Rother
Myanmar, Aid agencies, Congregational life