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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cyclone Nargis fades from the news but our hope for the people of Myanmar does not

It’s been 7 weeks since cyclone Nargis slammed into Myanmar, leaving more than 130,000 people dead or missing and as many as 2.4 million people struggling to survive in the aftermath.

HOPE International Development Agency’s field staff were providing emergency assistance within hours of the storm retreating and continue with these efforts today.

With every week that passed, we extended our work beyond the 24 villages we were able to reach in the early days following the disaster.

Our initial efforts focused on providing emergency care packages to survivors, ensuring that they received the medical care, medicine, clean water, food and shelter they so desperately needed. These efforts, made possible by the generosity of our donors, have saved thousands of lives.

Our Myanmar field staff was in a unique position to provide immediate assistance and went into action right away, using emergency supplies purchased locally with funds given by HOPE International Development Agency donors world-wide.

Today, we continue to provide emergency care packages to people in need and have already begun initial recovery efforts focused on helping survivors rebuild their lives and restore their livelihoods. Homes need to be rebuilt and basic necessities need to be provided, including household items such as cooking utensils and tools. Crops need to be replanted and livelihoods need to be restored. If we don’t this, surviving families will slip even deeper into poverty.

Equally importantly, our staff continues to provide emotional support to grieving children, parents and grandparents as they struggle, even these many weeks later, with the terrible loss they have experienced.

Our work in the coming weeks and months is as crucial as our work in the days immediately following the disaster, and we intend to increase our efforts even as the aftermath of cyclone Nargis fades from the public eye.

The people of Myanmar have shown their resilience and we need to show them our resolve by continuing to help them as they work to rebuild their lives and livelihoods.

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