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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Field Report: Hope is begining to emerge amidst the crisis in Myanmar

You are probably hearing a lot on the news about what is not going well here in terms of delivery of assistance to cyclone survivors. But let me counter with a dose of the good stuff – the cooperation, compassion and resourcefulness we see all around us from the people of Myanmar and from local and international agencies and their staff.

Yesterday, we were re-supplying the medical and relief teams that went out earlier. We were also trying to gather supplies to send out into a relatively inaccessible area of the Delta. Based on the experience of the medical teams last week, we have learned more about the physical forms that relief assistance has to take in order to reach people in need and be most useful to them.

People in many areas of the Delta rely for much of the year on rain water for their drinking water supply, but they have lost their rainwater collection materials. Water baskets and water purification supplies are essential to provide, but so are supplies to collect rain water. So part of our job yesterday was to try to quickly figure out a way to provide rainwater harvesting materials. In fact, based now on two consecutive days of rain, and forecasts of rain every day for the next week, it appears that the monsoon rains are starting in earnest. So, we’re starting to place more focus on rainwater harvesting.

Another member of HOPE International Development Agency’s staff has now gone out with the medical teams this week, and his responsibility will be to test out and then teach others how to establish water baskets and rain harvesting systems in local communities. He will report back to us his experience with the rainwater harvesting tarps so that we can get feedback so that changes can be made to the design and more harvesting tarps can be rushed into the field.

Cooperation, compassion, resourcefulness – we are fortunate to be surrounded and inspired by these on a daily basis, in spite of all the discouraging news we are also receiving. I hope you are inspired by these positive stories too.

Help families today by giving to HOPE International Development Agency.

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