IRC Alert: International Rescue Committee Dispatches Emergency Response Team to Myanmar; Says Access is Critical to Saving Lives
Hundreds of thousands are reported homeless and in desperate need of assistance, but so far, help is scarce. Contacts on the ground in villages outside Yangon tell the IRC that virtually all houses have been destroyed, people have lost their possessions and they are searching for any form of shelter from the elements. Food stocks are diminishing, many towns have no electricity and there are severe water shortages. In the meantime, bodies are scattered across fields, school yards and roads.
“This is a major catastrophe that demands an immediate and robust response,” says Greg Beck, the IRC’s Asia regional director, currently in Bangkok. “But everything hinges on access. The international aid community needs to get staff and supplies into devastated communities rapidly if we’re going to avert further deaths.”
The IRC is initially deploying operations, logistics, water and sanitation experts and hopes to bring in medical staff soon for an operation that would provide clean water, sanitation services, shelter materials, other urgent supplies and health care.
The IRC is accepting contributions to support emergency relief programs and long-term recovery assistance in Myanmar. Donations in the U.S. can be made by calling 1-877-REFUGEE (1-877-733-8433) or by clicking here. In the UK and Europe, by calling 44 020 7692 2735 or visiting www.IRCuk.org.
New York: Melissa Winkler, +1 646 734 0305, melissa.winkler@theIRC.org
London: Lydia Gomersall, +44 20 7692 2741, +44 7779 855 021, lydia.gomersall@IRCuk.org
Vienna: Peter Biro, +43 664 279 3977, +1 646 734 0305, peter.biro@theIRC.org