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Myanmar-Netherlands cooperation

The Netherlands Deputy Director General for International Cooperation, Mrs. Reina Buijs, officially handed over 150 ‘prikstokken’ to the Irrigation Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, responsible for dyke inspections on January 18. The ‘Prikstok’ is not only a typical but very effective Dutch tool for controlling and inspecting dykes in the Delta, but also a new word in the Burmese language. The handing over the ‘prikstok’ as a symbol for the cooperation between Myanmar and The Netherlands, is a start of more flood risk and strategic projects in the Ayeyarwady Delta in Myanmar. Myanmar and the Netherlands, both having low-lying deltas, share a long history of dealing with floods. In fact, on 30 July 2015, cyclone Komen brought strong winds and additional heavy rains to Myanmar, which Myanmar-Netherlands cooperation led to the most severe flooding Myanmar experienced in decades. In the aftermath of this flood disaster, the Dutch Government responded to the need for sustainable solutions for future floodings and sent a Disaster Risk Reduction team (DRR) to Myanmar. In May 2013, both countries had decided to work hand in hand to share knowledge and experiences on how to manage the water and control the floods. One very important element is the strength of the dykes, that should protect the delta. The very simple tool that was developed centuries ago but still in use in the Netherlands, proves to be very useful also in the inspection of the dykes here in Myanmar. That is why the Netherlands handed over the first 150 locally produced ‘Prikstokkens’ so that Myanmar can inspect the dykes better.

The DRR team provided advice on flood forecasting and early warning in the Kalay and Monywa area, on river modelling, on management of dykes in the delta and on inspection of dykes by the use of a ‘Prikstok’. A prikstok is used to inspect dykes for holes and leakages. A local company fabricated the 150 prikstokken according to the Dutch model and they can now be used in the Ayeyarwady Delta. Besides the prikstokken, ‘Prikstok Manuals’ have been developed explaining how to use the instruments.

The previous cooperation on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) resulted thus far in a strategic study on IWRM (2014), capacity building with several universities and various ‘Learning by Doing’ projects in 2015. In 2016 the Netherlands will support Myanmar with the development of a strategy for the Ayeyarwady Delta.