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Red Cross Update: Myanmar

NEWS RELEASE

12 May

Red Cross Update: Myanmar

Vital relief supplies delivered by Myanmar Red Cross volunteers and international Red Cross aid workers is making a difference in the cyclone devastated areas of Myanmar.

To date, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has managed to get four flights into Myanmar. These have taken in 10,000 mosquito nets, 8,000 jerry cans, 1,500 tarpaulins, and 300 shelter kits.

Yesterday a cargo aircraft chartered by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also arrived in Yangon. It was carrying 35 tonnes of equipment and materials urgently needed for medical care, drinking water and sanitation, and the safe disposal of bodies.

The medical supplies are sufficient to treat some 250 trauma patients and to provide three months of basic health care for 10,000 persons. The water and sanitation items, which include a mobile water-treatment plant, are intended to provide drinking water for 10,000 persons.

The first of the relief supplies have already been distributed by Myanmar Red Cross volunteers. A team of Red Cross aid workers and staff are now in Myanmar assisting with the assessment and evaluation of the situation in the affected regions and helping with the distribution of aid and relief supplies.

The relief supplies are just the start of a steady supply which is planned to arrive in the coming days. Red Cross logistics personnel based in Kuala Lumpur have been working on a distribution plan that uses a mix of commercial and charter flights into Myanmar every day this week.

The distribution of aid and relief supplies into Myanmar is a challenge as evidenced by the fact that a cargo ship loaded with relief supplies for over 1,000 people hit a submerged tree trunk and started taking on water near the town of Bogalay. The crew steered the boat to an island but it sank rapidly. All crew members, including four Myanmar Red Cross relief workers on board, managed to get to safety.

Some relief items were saved and have been transported to the nearest town to await onward shipment. It is not known how much of the cargo has been lost, but the food supplies would have been contaminated by river water.

For the most recent information on the Red Cross’relief operation in Myanmar please visit our website www.redcross.org.nz where you will be able to download a PDF of the latest Operations Update.

ENDS

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