British public urged to give 'desperately needed' aid to Burma

By agency reporter
8 May 2008

Teams from UK Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) member agencies, together with flights of emergency relief items, are now arriving in Burma and reaching those people most affected by Cyclone Nargis. More aid is desperately needed and the DEC is calling on people to donate to the DEC Myanmar (Burma) Cyclone Appeal.

An emergency medical team from Merlin have just arrived in Yangon and will join the hundreds of local Merlin staff who have been established in the country since 2005. The charity has permission to use a river cruiser to deliver medical aid to the tens of thousands who are stranded in the Irrawaddy Delta region.

Merlin Chief Executive Carolyn Miller said: “The flat coastal region was one of the worst affected as the Cyclone tore through the country. All Merlin’s medical boats were destroyed and as a result accessing people has been difficult. Our teams are on the ground now in Laputta township, treating trauma patients as well as running a rapid assessment of the health needs.”

A Red Cross aid flight with tarpaulins, jerry cans and shelter kits for more than 2,000 people is now on its way and is due to arrive in Myanmar later today and another will land on Friday. The British Red Cross Emergency Response logistics team will arrive in Yangon tomorrow evening and the immediate priority will be to ensure aid is distributed to those most in need.

Yesterday CARE distributed water in Yangon to approximately 10,000 people in temporary shelters. 100,000 family kits are being prepared and will be ready to fly from Thailand as soon as possible. The kits include blankets, jerry cans, plastic sheeting, clothes and hygiene items.

As more aid now arrives in Myanmar the DEC is asking the British public to make an urgent donation to its Myanmar (Burma) Cyclone Appeal. Donate online: www.dec.org.uk or call: 0870 60 60 900.

Public donations will be used for immediate needs such as food, clean water, medicines and shelter, says DEC. But the scale of the devastation is so immense that a huge relief and reconstruction effort will be needed over the coming months.

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