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Devastated Children in Myanmar Face Special Threats After Cyclone
Date:5/8/2008

-- Children among most vulnerable to communicable and water-borne diseases

-- Children particularly sensitive to psychosocial impact of trauma

BANGKOK, Thailand, May 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Children who survived the 15-foot sea surge that devastated the delta region of Myanmar now face the dual specters of disease and emotional trauma as their communities try to recover from the impact of Cyclone Nargis.

Water sources have been contaminated - not just by saltwater - but also by the thousands of human bodies or animal carcasses, many of them floating in the water.

"We have a very narrow window of opportunity to ensure people have access to potable drinking water and sanitation. Disease outbreaks spread by dirty water, poor sanitation and mosquitoes are a major concern. Our priority will be to save children and their families from diseases that spread quickly such as diarrhea, dysentery, malaria and others in the wake of disasters such as this," said child development specialist Samson Jeyakumar.

Helping children to overcome emotional trauma must also be a priority, he said.

"After a disaster, children are likely to feel very insecure, threatened and anxious. They need to feel safe amidst these overwhelming experiences. Tens of thousands of children have seen their homes destroyed, family members die, seen dead bodies, or are now simply trying to survive in a terribly harsh post-disaster environment," he said.

Mr Jeyakumar has lived and worked in Myanmar, as a programs expert with World Vision.

So far World Vision has delivered 35 MT of rice, 18,000 liters of drinking water and diesel fuel to allow generators pumps to continue to pump water. Clothing, blankets and tarpaulins have also been distributed to people living in and around Yangon.

The government of Myanmar has requested aid agencies to provide assistance in the form of zinc sheets, tents, tarpaulins and medicine. The
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SOURCE World Vision
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