Myanmar, Republic of the Union of

UNICEF supplies arrive in Thandwe to help Myanmar flood victims

© UNICEF Myanmar/2007/Thet Wai Hlaing
A Thandwe resident shows the highest water level reached during flooding.

By Susan Aitkin

YANGON, Myanmar, 11 July 2007 – Emergency UNICEF supplies have arrived in Thandwe township in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, to help families affected by the recent floods.

Rakhine, the western coastal state bordering Bangladesh, was hit by torrential rains at the start of July, flooding parts of Thandwe, Buthidaung, Minpya, Sittwe, Ann, Kyauphyu , Yanbye and Gwa townships. Flooding has also been reported in Ayeyarwaddy, Bago and Tanintharyi Divisions on the central and southern coasts.

“The flood waters have destroyed houses and covered the floors of hospitals, health posts and schools with mud,” UNICEF Representative Ramesh Shrestha said today.

“The mud has also contaminated hundreds of drinking wells and has blocked latrines. We are concerned, therefore, about the health of the communities depending on these wells.”

© UNICEF Myanmar/2007/Thet Wai Hlaing
The floods mean that a boat becomes the best 'road' vehicle in Thandwe township, Rakhine State.

Supplies by land and air

UNICEF field monitoring officers, who were in Rakhine State to help monitor the third phase of the polio vaccination campaign, are now helping conduct a rapid assessment to assess the further needs of the flood-affected communities.

UNICEF dispatched by air on Tuesday essential drug kits to help supply both hospital and health posts. It has also dispatched 36,000 water-purification tablets and 1,000 packets of oral rehydration salts to help families affected by the floods.

Further bulk supplies, especially chlorine-based water purification powder, will be sent by road as soon as possible. (Such supplies cannot be sent by air.) Also to go by road are 350 family kit and additional supplies of oral rehydration salts. The family kits include clothes, soap, matches, candles, eating and cooking utensils, mosquito bednets and tarpaulins for shelter.

Meanwhile, back in Yangon, UNICEF is expediting printing of 100,000 leaflets on how families can protect themselves from dengue fever, to support efforts against the dengue fever outbreak there.



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