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International Rescue Committee Mobilizes More Emergency Teams for Myanmar; Warns of Massive Health Disaster Unless Aid Reaches Cyclone Survivors Fast
Date:5/9/2008

BANGKOK, Thailand, May 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- International Rescue Committee emergency team members have arrived in Myanmar and four additional teams are on standby for deployment to the region as the IRC prepares for a possible outbreak of water-borne diseases in cyclone-ravaged villages.

"Nearly all homes were destroyed in the villages I assessed today and the survivors have virtually no access to clean drinking water," says the IRC's emergency coordinator, Gordon Bacon, speaking from Yangon. "With each passing day, we come closer to a massive health disaster and a second wave of deaths that is potentially larger than the first."

In addition to aid workers mounting relief efforts on the ground, the IRC has medical, water, sanitation, operations and logistics experts already in the region or ready to be dispatched to Myanmar as soon as aid corridors open up.

The IRC has emergency stocks in Dubai ready for shipment and is procuring cholera kits, emergency health kits and water treatment supplies to position in Thailand.

"Everything hinges on access," says Greg Beck, the IRC's Thailand-based Asia regional director. "Unless there's a massive and fast infusion of aid, experts and supplies into the hardest-hit areas, there's going to be a tragedy at an unimaginable scale."

The IRC is accepting contributions to support emergency relief programs and long-term recovery assistance in Myanmar. Donations in the U.S. can be made by calling 1-877-REFUGEE (1-877-733-8433) or visiting http://www.theIRC.org, and in the UK and Europe, by calling 44 020 7692 2735 or visiting http://www.IRCuk.org.

About the IRC: A global leader in humanitarian assistance, the International Rescue Committee works around the world offering help and hope to refugees and others uprooted by conflict and oppression. During crises, IRC teams provide health care, shelter, clean water, sanitation, learning and healing programs for children and special aid for women. As emergencies subside, the IRC stays to revive livelihoods and help shattered communities recover and rebuild. The IRC also helps resettle refugees admitted into the United States. A tireless advocate for the most vulnerable, the IRC is committed to restoring hope, dignity and opportunity.


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SOURCE International Rescue Committee
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