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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Field Report - crisis deepens in Myanmar

This post is from our field staff in Myanmar.

We are incredibly grateful to be alive and be in a position to help in the aftermath of such a terrible disaster. We are equally grateful that HOPE International Development Agency donors are rising to the challenge and sending much needed funds so we can continue to move forward with our emergency relief efforts.

The post-cyclone situation here is worse than even our previously pessimistic estimates.

Information coming in from the villages in the area indicates it is normal for a community to have lost 50-60% of its population by now. It appears that the smaller the village, the larger the percentage of deaths.

One member of our team met with the single survivor from a village that used to be home to 100 people.

The death rates appear to be higher among women and children than men. Much of this simply has to do with physical strength. Women and children in the Delta were less able to climb and cling to high places during the surges of waves, while men more often had the strength to hang on and survive.

Our health team has been able to treat more than 2,000 injured men, women and children since Wednesday afternoon and have handed out lots of water purification tablets. We're currently restocking their supplies in preparation for another trip into the countryside.

Relief efforts are beginning and local aid agencies, including us, our doing our best to establish the infrastructure needed to help the most seriously affected. Displaced person camps are being set up by the government and local agencies and more camps spring up every hour. We're really worried about the people who can't make it to one of these camps and are doing our best to help them as well. People are scavenging for their daily food and water and continue to live out in the open because they've lost everything they own.

HOPE International Development Agency team members are heading out into the countryside again to organize more emergency relief efforts.

Pray for the people of Myanmar!

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