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Aid worker reports from Myanmar

Concern’s partner CESVI is organising an emergency response in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, where survivors from the nearby areas are coming seeking help and refuge. This report is from Silvia Facchinello, head of CESVI’s operations in the country:

The health and sanitary situation in Myanmar is now extremely serious. There is no drinking water, and streams are filled with debris and dead bodies. This is already causing a dysentery epidemic. With the current lack of drugs, the epidemic may result in additional deaths.

Food is scarce, and the price of the little food still available is extremely high. There is very little oil and coal is running out. We are trying to use our generator only for short periods, when really necessary. It is very difficult at the moment to tell how many people have been affected by the disaster.

Despite the situation, I haven’t seen tension or riots in the streets. Everybody tries to help. I have been told that many people have found refuge in monasteries and schools.

The most important thing to concentrate on now for us humanitarian workers in Rangoon is coordination. We must try to understand how to be effective in helping the population without wasting energy and money. Since Monday morning we have been waiting for the green light from the local authorities to travel to the more remote areas.

For the time being, we are providing help to the displaced people who have arrived in Yangon. We will concentrate on distributing drugs, mosquito nets, hygiene kits (water tablets, soap, towels, razorblades) and kitchen sets. We are about to start a sanitary intervention targeting over 20,000 people, mainly women and children. We are also planning to set up a mobile health clinic in the city.

Along with the other NGOs present in the country, we are coordinating with the UN in order to provide shelter and water for the displaced and to start the reconstruction. There is a huge need for help, as so far the international community has donated very little towards the crisis.