One Month After Cyclone Nargis, IRC Aid Teams, Partners, Continue to Reach Desperate Survivors
Each man had lost his wife in the devastating cyclone that wiped out surrounding villages and much of Oaktwin one month ago. Nearly all the men had also lost at least one child in the brutal storm, not to mention their homes and farms.
"This is the tragic scene we came upon when we arrived to deliver emergency supplies," says the International Rescue Committee's Ye Thu, who just returned to Yangon from a four-day relief mission in Ngapudaw, the western-most township of Myanmar's ravaged Irrawaddy Delta. "Here and everywhere we bring aid, the people are struggling for their lives. The people still need aid badly."
Ye says the villages in this region are accessible only by small boats, so aid deliveries have been small and inconsistent, which is why the Myanmar Red Cross and the IRC teamed up to get needed supplies to some of these remote and underserved places.
During this latest distribution in Ngapudaw, the joint relief team distributed hygiene supplies, tarps and water containers donated by the U.S. government to more than 10,600 people in 16 remote villages, some of which had previously received no assistance.
"A month after the cyclone hit, the emergency is far from over," says Gordon Bacon, the IRC's emergency team leader in Myanmar. "Our relief teams come back every day describing appalling situations Ð dead bodies scattered everywhere, desperate and destitute people crying and begging. People are in very bad shape and need an immense amount of help. It's very sad to see, especially when you know how much more could have been done."
Partnering with the Myanmar Red Cross, the IRC is preparing for more deliveries in the next week to areas of the Irrawaddy Delta, including water purification tablets and equipment that will provide clean drinking water for more than 100,000 people for a month, and significant stocks of antibiotics and other medicines for distribution to clinics and hospitals.