British Public Saves Lives in Myanmar

15/05/2008

The British public’s donations to the DEC Myanmar (Burma) Cyclone Appeal have so far helped to raise £6 million of life-saving funds reaching at least 350,000 victims of the Burmese cyclone.

With heavy rain forecast to hit the cyclone-ravaged Irrawaddy delta over the coming days, the supplies that these vital funds are buying have become more essential than ever.

Brendan Gormley, Chief Executive, Disasters Emergency Committee, explains why the public’s money is crucial: “DEC members are working on the ground now and more aid is getting through by the day. We can’t stress enough the vital importance of individual donations from the public.”

“Just a few pounds can provide essential shelter and aid to those left homeless by the cyclone. We’d like to thank people for the generosity they have shown so far and encourage people to continue donating so our agencies can keep up their life saving work.”

The DEC states that £25 will buy mosquito nets for ten people protecting from malaria in the aftermath of the cyclone and £50 will pay for clean water and water purification tablets for one family for three months.

Those who are in need of the public’s support include sixteen-year-old Nyo Mynt, an inhabitant of the temporary camp of Myaung Mya’s, where some 30,000 survivors seek water, food and shelter. Nyo came alone: he lost five siblings and both his parents on the night of the cyclone’s destruction.

“We were preparing our evening meal when the wind tore off the roof of our house,” Nyo said. “The water rose quickly. To make sure we stayed together, we tied ourselves to each other with a rope. At one point it broke and we all got washed away by the tide. I grabbed my mother with one hand with all my strength. We hit a tree that was floating adrift and I lost her. I was terrified and clung onto that tree the whole night.”

Red Cross aid flights are landing in Yangon everyday. It is expected that 17 flights will have arrived by Friday 16 May. The 17 flights will have sent 130 tonnes of aid including 20,00 mosquito nets, 2,450 tarpaulins and almost 15,000 jerry cans as well as emergency shelter and supplies for 4,500 people and hygiene items for more than 600 people.

World Vision’s local team has been working around the clock to assist more than 100,000 children and adults with relief assistance such as clean water, medicine and temporary shelters.

Christian Aid’s partner is setting up 58 relief camps across the Irrawaddy delta and helping remote communities. It is distributing rice, oil, salt, clothing, mats, baby blankets, mosquito nets, medicines and rehydration solutions to 68,000 people. Food provisions and safe shelter are also being established for 12,000 of the most vulnerable families.

Save the Children has now reached almost 115,000 people, including around 33,000 children.

Other member agencies are continuing their life saving work either directly or through locally based partners. As a result, aid is reaching the most vulnerable.