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Caritas appeals for $8.2 million to Myanmar relief

Caritas Internationalis media release:
Caritas appeals for $8.2 million to Myanmar relief

29 May 2008 – The head of the Catholic Church in Myanmar says aid is getting through to survivors of Cyclone Nargis. The Caritas international aid network has appealed for $8.2 million for the first three months of the emergency response.

Archbishop Paul Zingthung Grawng of Mandalay, President of the Myanmar Bishops Conference said, “Our Church workers went immediately into the worst hit villages to rescue people and bring them to safety. We are able to provide food, shelter and medicine to people in camps in churches. We are also able to deliver supplies to people who have remained in their villages.

“Many of these people would now be dead if it had not been for the work of the Church and the solidarity of Caritas and its supporters who have given so generously. The people of Myanmar for one of the first times feel a sense of being connected to the outside world and that we are not alone. For all the help, we’re grateful.”

The Archbishop was speaking on a visit to Rome to staff at Caritas Internationalis, the umbrella organization for 162 national Catholic charities.

“Caritas is working through our local partners in Myanmar to deliver relief to some of the two million plus people affected by Cyclone Nargis”, said J.P. Nelson, Myanmar Emergency Response Team Leader for Caritas Internationalis.

“Our focus in the acute emergency phase will be on meeting immediate needs of up to 75,000 people in the worst affected areas. Working through local Church partners enables us to access many of those that have yet to receive any substantial assistance, despite the difficulties in coordination and distribution on the ground,”said Mr. Nelson, speaking from Bangkok.

“At least 45,000 people will receive essential clean water, food and non-food items, including cooking utensils, toiletries and hygiene kits. At least 20,000 people will be given access to temporary shelter”, said Mr. Nelson.

“Already the Caritas network has assisted tens of thousands through the work of local partners and over 120 volunteers who have been involved in needs assessment, logistics supplies and distribution of food and clean water. In addition, many people are seeking shelter in Church buildings.

“This three month appeal will be followed by a focus in supporting rehabilitation in Myanmar. We foresee major issues relating to food security and shelter.”

ENDS

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