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Red Cross launches emergency appeal for flood devastated Myanmar (Burma)

Wednesday May 7, 2008

As the full extent of the devastation wrought by Cyclone Nargis becomes clearer, more than 19,000 Red Cross volunteers are working around the clock to reach and support people affected by what could be the world's deadliest storm since 1991.

Red Cross has launched an emergency appeal to support relief efforts already underway. Latest official figures suggest that more than 22,000 people lost their lives in the storm that made landfall on Friday 2 May.

'The scale of this disaster cannot be underestimated,' said Robert Tickner, CEO Australian Red Cross. 'Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their homes and possessions as well as their livelihoods.'

'More than 1 million people may be displaced, and one of the key challenges now will be to prevent the outbreak of water-borne diseases in those left exposed to the elements.'

Over the past days, Red Cross volunteers have been distributing basic relief items such as tarpaulins, mosquito nets, potable water and water purification tablets. Teams of volunteers have also been through some of the worst affected areas along the Irrawaddy delta, where they continue to assess the damage, ensuring a carefully planned response over the coming weeks.

'It is crucial that we know exactly the challenges that face us, so we mobilise the right resources at the right times during what will be a complex and lengthy relief and recovery operation.'

Red Cross reports from inside Myanmar suggest extensive devastation across the affected region. In some villages along the Irrawaddy river delta, 95 per cent of houses have been destroyed, whilst in Yangon, access to running water and electricity has been severely limited.

To donate to the Myanmar (Burma) Cyclone Nargis appeal 2008:

  • make a secure online donation
  • Phone 1800 811 700
  • Send a cheque or money order to PO Box 2957, Melbourne, 8060

Donations to the Myanmar (Burma) Cyclone Nargis 2008 will:

  • support the relief and recovery needs of households and communities affected by Cyclone Nargis, including clean water, emergency shelter and household items
  • send specialist aid workers to assist in the Red Cross response
  • assist Myanmar Red Cross in preparing and responding to this and future emergencies

Australian Red Cross will deduct no more than 10% of any donation for an international Appeal to cover its appeal costs. Should the funds raised exceed the amount required to meet the immediate and longer term needs of the people in the affected areas, Australian Red Cross will direct the excess funds to other emergency preparedness and response initiatives in the Asia Pacific region.