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Enormous Recovery Challenges Remain in Myanmar One Year After Cyclone Nargis
Date:4/30/2009

WASHINGTON, April 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- One year after Cyclone Nargis devastated the Ayeyarwaddy Delta in Myanmar, enormous challenges remain in restoring livelihoods and water sources, building shelters and schools, and in providing psychosocial support to traumatized survivors. The Red Cross is supporting 100,000 families in thirteen townships with health education, clean water, improved housing, cash-for-work and emotional support.

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"One of our most important roles is helping disaster-affected populations to take part in securing their own future well-being," says Bernd Schell, the head of the country office for the Red Cross in Yangon. Schell notes that "our livelihoods and emotional recovery programs aim to engage and empower the affected communities to fully participate in rebuilding their lives."

The Red Cross is providing shelter to thousands of families, as well as implementing a wide variety of "cash-for-work" programs, where beneficiaries earn income while restoring destroyed roads, bridges and jetties. These projects and the beneficiaries are chosen in cooperation with the communities.

Many survivors have had little opportunity to earn an income since the cyclone, and are struggling with debt. The cash-for-work program is helping supplement incomes until farmers, fishermen and casual workers can get back to making a living, according to Schell.

Shelter also remains a major priority. "It is estimated that 20 percent (100,000 families) of those whose homes were destroyed, still live under tarpaulins," he said. "Tens of thousands more live in temporary, sub-standard shelters, which will not be able to withstand another storm."

Although the Red Cross has made progress in restoring water sources and water catchment systems, they estimate that only 50 percent have been repaired. This means that many survivors will face water shortages during the next dry season.

In addition to livelihoods, shelter and water supply projects, the Red Cross is implementing an extensive psychosocial support program that helps survivors to deal with stress and trauma after experiencing personal losses. Up to 600 villages have been reached thus far and the program continues.

You can help the victims of countless crises around the world each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief and long-term support through supplies, technical assistance and other support to help those in need. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster, please do so at the time of your donation by mailing your donation with the designation to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243 , Washington, D.C. 20013 or to your local American Red Cross chapter. Donations to the International Response Fund can be made by phone at 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish) or online at www.redcross.org.


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SOURCE American Red Cross
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