Myanmar disaster Relief Progress Report

25 June 2008 - Mark Templer, South Asian Director, HOPE worldwide, and Charles Ham, Southeast Asia Director, HOPE worldwide.

On May 2nd , 2008, cyclone Nargis swept through the Southern regions of Myanmar, devastating one of the poorest regions in Asia, wrecking destruction on millions of lives and homes. Millions of people in Yangon and the Southern Delta region have been affected by the disaster, with countless of lives lost and numerous people rendered homeless overnight. HOPE worldwide is working hard with its local partners to provide a little hope to the 2.4 million estimated victims during their hard times. The focus has been to provide food and medical supplies, a total of 1,500 kgs (3,000 pounds) provided from Indonesia and Thailand warehouses. The supplies were used to provide help to the most vulnerable communities affected, especially the communities that are already living very poorly before the disaster.

Kamar Kasit ward in Dala Township, situated across the Yangon River with a population over 5,000 people or around 1,200 households was hit by Cyclone Nargis on May 3, 2008. As most of the houses were built with bamboo and thatch roofs on soft soil, many houses collapsed when the cyclone struck. About 3,000 people fled to the nearby Buddhist monasteries to take shelter during the cyclone.

In one monastery called A Leh Kyaung, there were around 1,200 people who took refuge. A few days later many people chose to return to their un-repaired houses as living in the monasteries was over crowded and living conditions was poor. The head monk fed them for 10 days without getting any aid from the government, private donors, and NGOs as they were more focused on the worst hit areas in the Irrawady delta.

Mobile Medical Clinic

Not only distributing medical and food supplies, HOPE worldwide has started a mobile clinic that will serve the Dala Township communities for the next three months. On the first day of the clinic, 270 people rushed to the service accommodated by 6 doctors. Babies and elderly were the majority patients at the clinic.

The storm has passed, but the disaster remains.

Many victims are still living very poorly in huts like the woman pictured below. It will take many more years before the people have their houses rebuilt. Building temporary shelters for a woman and her family (picture) this is desperately need as more and more people are driven away from the camp sites. Children also remain highly vulnerable and need supports to re-enter school as parents try to support daily living.

HOPE worldwide would like to thanks the churches in the Western United States and Asia for the generous support to bring help for the Burmese in trouble. American Embassy School of New Delhi and Children's HOPE India of New York have generously donated to support the work that we have just described, and we thank them for their kind help.

Further work in rehabilitation, especially housing, is being provided thanks to a grant from Manpower via United Way International.

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