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Hardship and human rights violations continue among Burma cyclone survivors
Date:5/7/2010

The survivors of Cyclone Nargis, which struck Burma (also known as Myanmar) in May 2008, continue to face challenges in rebuilding their lives, in lack of access to relief and reconstruction efforts, and in violations of basic rights more than one year after the storm, according to a study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Emergency Assistance TeamBurma.

The study "Community-Based Assessment of Human Rights in a Complex Humanitarian Emergency: The Emergency Assistance Teams-Burma and Cyclone Nargis" is published May 7 in the journal Conflict and Health. Accounts from survivors and relief workers show that necessities such as food, potable water, shelter and medicine remained insufficient for many a year after the disaster. According to the researchers, a lack of support to help rebuild livelihoods and worsening household debt have precluded survivors from accessing healthcare services, which were inadequate before Cyclone Nargis.

"Accounts of survivors and independent relief workers one year after the cyclone make clear that the basic needs remain unmet for many survivorsa situation made worse by Burma's military rulers who continued to hamper the recovery effort and to limit access by independent relief workers," said study co-author Chris Beyrer, MD, professor and director of the Center for Public Health and Human Rights at the Bloomberg School.

For the study, a network of community-based organizations, known as the Emergency Assistance TeamBurma, worked on the ground to conduct an assessment of the human rights conditions in Burma immediately following Cyclone Nargis. In response to the cyclonea storm that killed an estimated 138,000 people and affected 2.4 million peoplethe team was formed within days after the storm's landfall. The assessment found that community aid efforts faced government restrictions and harassment, including the threat of arrest of independent relief workers. St
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Contact: Tim Parsons
tmparson@jhsph.edu
410-955-7619
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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