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Disaster Recovery in Myanmar: Multi-Agency Coordination

  • 27 Jun 2023
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In resource-poor settings, responses to large-scale disasters can be chaotic. Burnet’s coordination of responses to Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar helped speed recovery, and established a new, more productive way of working.

In 2008, Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar, causing upheaval in the lives of over 2 million people, and killing more than 84,000. With no civic body coordinating efforts, well-intentioned relief and recovery work was failing to have impact.

Burnet took the lead, establishing the Local Resource Centre to oversee the disaster response. Working with multiple international and local agencies, we pooled millions of dollars in aid and coordinated the efforts of teams on the ground.

“After Cyclone Nargis, it was a platform for civil society to exist, and to self-coordinate.” —Professor Mike Toole AM

The chaos receded, and relief and recovery work began to have impact. In cyclone-affected communities, people got the help they needed, sooner.

“The Myanmar Resource Centre ran for years in the end, even after the immediate impacts of the cyclone had passed. It just became a nice platform for a lot of civil society entities to work together and coordinate.” —Professor Mike Toole AM

Over time, the Local Resource Centre proved to be a valuable platform for coordinating humanitarian work ongoing. With capacity-building support from Burnet, the local community took over management of the Centre and it continues to operate to this day, employing more than 300+ local people.


Where are we now?

  • In the immediate aftermath of the cyclone, support for affected communities was faster and more effective, saving lives.
  • Led by Burnet, the Local Resource Centre improved access to information on development and humanitarian issues, coordination and linkages with and between international and Myanmar agencies and networks.
  • The Local Resource Centre strengthened technical and management capacity of local organisations to address accountability towards beneficiaries and effectively respond to disasters.
  • The Local Resource Centre continues to operate, with 300+ staff, supporting a network of 1,200 Community Sector Organisations.