People, livelihoods, and infrastructure in Myanmar suffer from devastating monsoonal flooding on a frequent basis. Quick and effective management of flood risk relies on planning and preparedness to ensure the availability of supplies, shelters and emergency response personnel. The mandated government agency Department of Disaster Management (DDM) as well as local and international organizations play roles in producing, disseminating, and using accurate and timely information on flood risk. Currently, systematic flood risk maps are lacking, which leaves DDM to rely on inconsistent historic reports and local knowledge to inform their emergency planning. Although these types of knowledge are critical, they can be complemented to reduce bias and human error to planning processes and decisions. As such, the present situation has led to ineffective distribution of emergency response resources prior to flooding, leaving vulnerable populations less-than-prepared for inevitable flood events. Given these issues, we have developed a flood risk decision-support tool in collaboration with DDM. The tool uses surface water maps developed by the Joint Research Center (JRC), which were derived from more than 30 years of Landsat imagery. We have also incorporated population data, land cover data, and other information on flood exposure and vulnerability to create the first scalable and replicable Flood Risk Index (FRI) for flood risk reduction in Myanmar.
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