In Myanmar, IRC Delivers Emergency Supplies Amid Growing Threat of Health Disaster
The IRC teamed up with a local Myanmar organization to distribute two truckloads of emergency family kits, including mosquito nets, water containers, tarps, clothing, and blankets for cyclone survivors in Kyungyan Kone Township, on the eastern edge of the Irrawaddy Delta.
Meanwhile, an IRC team in Bangkok is purchasing water purification tablets, oral rehydration salts and other items for delivery to Myanmar. Ten tons of IRC supplies, including water treatment kits, are also ready to be flown to Yangon from Dubai.
Ben Harvey, a water and sanitation expert with the IRC, says 10 days into the disaster, one has to assume that all the water in the region is contaminated by human waste and decaying animal carcasses, which could swiftly lead to outbreaks of disease.
"It takes less than a spoonful of contaminated water for a person to come down with dysentery or cholera," Harvey says. "These are highly infectious diseases and untreated can quickly kill in the tens of thousands."
The IRC has a comprehensive response plan in place that includes medical assistance, health worker training, water treatment and delivery, latrine construction, distribution of shelter, household and hygiene supplies, health education and waste clean-up and management. An IRC program similar to this one helped prevent the spread of disease in Aceh, Indonesia after the 2004 tsunami.
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