Pakokku: climate change can be spookily quiet - The Myanmar Climate Change Alliance helps to adapt

Climate change doesn’t always mean extreme events that leave behind mass destruction and chaos, it isn’t always loud, . Often it’s slow and spookily quiet. This is true for the people of Pakokku, in the dry zone of Myanmar. The land is flat, hot and dry and extremely vulnerable, climate change aggravates these already extreme conditions. People from areas along the river experience flooding and are often forced to leave their homes and take refuge in the local town monastery. Further inland, the region is experiencing chronic water problems, with struggles to continue traditional farming such as growing rice paddy.

 

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Traditional farming - Chronic water problems cause struggle to continue traditional livelihoods. With the changes in the climate, higher temperatures and a shorter rainy season, some farmers can only grow one crop instead of two

 

Myanmar Climate Change Alliance has conducted studies on the current vulnerabilities and projections reveal that temperatures may increase up to maximum 2.7 degrees by 2050 with up to 4-17  hot days per month in the summer season compared to one hot day per month defined historically.

 

With a loss of traditional livelihoods, many (mostly men) have had to migrate to cities or to neighbouring Thailand in search of work, which makes Pakokku more vulnerable for lack of skilled human resources in the townships, leaving women led households without alternative sources of income

 

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Rebuilding - The rainy season is shorter in length and flash flooding is more intense. As a result villages are accustomed to rebuilding their homes more regularly when they are destroyed by the sweeping floods.

 

As part of activities to support alternative livelihoods in Pakokku, Myanmar Climate Change Alliance is funding a sewing project for women who have lost their homes or crops in the floods, or may be the most vulnerable to climate change effects. This activity has been identified as part of a social sustainability plan that helps communities cope with changed livelihoods in order to leave no one behind.

 

The rainy season is shorter in length and flash flooding is more intense. As a result villages are accustomed to rebuilding their homes more regularly when they are destroyed by the sweeping floods or intense rainfall and storm. Another local level of intervention under the  Myanmar Climate Change Alliance is the training of local carpenters to build climate and disaster resilient housing  using traditional materials from the area with new design features, such as raising the plinth height to reduce flood impact or four sided tapered roof to avoid roofs blowing away in storms. The new features make houses more resilient to the changes in climate such as a more intense monsoon season and hot season.

 

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Sewing class - Women in the dry zone are feeling the pressure of climate change. Sewing classes prospect an alternative livelihood project to work in the fields.