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Situation Remains Critical for Cyclone-Devastated Children, Families in Myanmar

Jeremy Reynalds | ASSIST News Service | Friday, May 16, 2008

Situation Remains Critical for Cyclone-Devastated Children, Families in Myanmar

May 16, 2008

MYANMAR -- World Vision has been working around the clock to assist more than 100,000 children and adults with essentials like water, clothing, and temporary shelters.

Its team in Myanmar plans to provide aid to nearly 500,000 cyclone survivors if it can get the additional funds, expertise, and supplies to the affected areas. Staff on the ground are already seeing cases of waterborne diseases, and the health of children is of critical concern.

“We are now getting relief supplies into the delta area, where there is staggering need,” said Steve Goudswaard, World Vision's cyclone response manager, in a news release. “If we can maintain the access to survivors and increase our supplies, we will be able to reach almost half a million people.”

According to World Vision, an operation base has been set up in the eastern part of the delta in a town called Pyapon — about a four-hour drive from Yangon, Myanmar's largest city — through which aid is beginning to flow. World Vision staff members have been trucking emergency kits, assembled by a team in Yangon, down to the base. Pyapon is close to three of the worst affected townships in the delta region.

The aid to Myanmar began to move after the government permitted access to those in need. World Vision said in a news release that the organization has complete control over its aid.

In Myaung Mya, an area about 30 miles north of the devastated town of Labutta, World Vision's national staff said in a news release that approximately 30,000 people are need food, water, and medical attention. Children – many of them orphans – are suffering from fever, diarrhea, and respiratory infections.

World Vision has been supplying clean water to survivors in the Irrawaddy area. Our teams also have started chlorinating wells, providing water tanks, and disinfecting camp sites with bleaching powder.

Meanwhile, in Yangon, World Vision reported that more than 78,000 people have received clean water, rice, and other emergency aid, such as clothing, blankets, and tarpaulins. Diesel fuel is being distributed to operate water pumps.

World Vision said its staff have also have distributed sterile dressings, anti-bacterial medicines, mosquito nets, and disinfectants, but additional resources are needed.

The organization said that much of this equipment is available, and could be within the country in hours from World Vision's global warehouses in Dubai and Frankfurt.

A World Vision news release stated, “We hope to conduct aid flights from these locations in the next few days, as soon as we receive clearance from the government of Myanmar.”

According to World Vision, its current short-term emergency response phase will be followed by a two- to-three-year rehabilitation and reconstruction phase. World Vision plans to increase the number of its staff from the current 580, and provide specialized training to ensure an effective response.

For more information go to www.worldvision.org 

© 2008 ASSIST News Service, used with permission