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Myanmar's children will be able to play again

Myanmar's children will be able to play again

Many of Myanmar's children will have the opportunity to laugh and play again, thanks to child-friendly spaces being set up by Save the Children.

The play spaces have been set up at four sites across Yangon and many more are planned for the region devastated by Cyclone Nargis.

John Bowis, Executive Director of Save the Children New Zealand says: "Children make up some 40 percent of the deaths of this crisis and nearly half of the survivors.

"In emergencies such as this, children are always one of our first priorities. Our child-friendly areas encourage those traumatised by the disaster and its aftermath to play and join in activities that will help relieve their psychosocial stress."

Large numbers of children remain separated, orphaned and unaccompanied and Save the Children teams across Yangon and the Irrawaddy Delta region are working to assess the scale of this problem.

Save the Children has worked in Myanmar for 13 years and has 500 local staff based in 35 offices across the country. As a result we have been able to respond immediately to the crisis in the wake of Cyclone Nargis.

To date, our relief efforts have focused on the stricken Yangon region and the more remote and hard-to-reach areas of the Irrawaddy Delta. So far we have been able to deliver aid to almost 250,000 people in the form of food, water, medicine, tarpaulins for shelter and cooking equipment, and we are continuing to reach a further 15,000 a day.

We are also operating a floating clinic in conjunction with Mercy Malaysia from which we have been able to treat up to 150 people a day. Our assessment teams are also working to set up static medical sites.

"In the hard-to-reach areas of the delta region, more than half our in-country staff are now concentrating their efforts on ensuring pregnant women, children and babies get access to basic health care amid reports of children falling victim to respiratory infections and diarrhoea, as well as being at high risk of malaria and dengue fever.

"Although more aid is now getting through, it is believed that there are still thousands of people who may not yet have been reached and who need our help. It's vital that we extend our relief efforts and we continue to welcome all donations."

Donations can be made in several ways:
• Call Save the Children New Zealand's donation line: 0800 167 168
• Visit any one of Save the Children's shops across the country (the website: www.savethechildren.org.nz lists them)
• Send a cheque, made out to Save the Children, to Freepost PO Box 6584, Marion Square, Wellington. Mark your envelope Myanmar and don't forget to add your name and address so we can send you a receipt.


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