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It’s been a year since Cyclone Nargis tore through Myanmar, devastating the country’s southern coastal regions. One of the worst cyclones in history, Nargis first struck on May 2, causing a massive tidal wave and floods that killed nearly 140,000 people. Many villages in Myanmar’s hard hit areas, including Yangon and the Irrawaddy Delta, were completely destroyed. Other communities still struggle to recover.
In the wake of the cyclone, AmeriCares was one of the first relief groups allowed into isolated Myanmar. We immediately sent relief workers to coordinate the delivery of critical aid. Within 48 hours of our first airlift’s arrival, 15 tons of aid was delivered to communities impacted by the disaster. Emergency medical teams were then quickly outfitted with our donated medicines and supplies. Each team saw as many as 100 cyclone survivors per day. Today, there are more than 2.4 million survivors struggling to rebuild their lives. Long after the cyclone’s flood waters subsided, AmeriCares is continuing to provide lifesaving medicines and supplies for those who still need our help.
“Recovering from such a devastating disaster will take years,” says Ella Gudwin, who oversaw AmeriCares emergency relief work in Myanmar. “As our partners rebuild the health system, AmeriCares is delivering the medicines and supplies they need to diagnose, treat and heal – from hospitals to small rural clinics held in schools and monasteries.”
Over the past year, relief efforts have varied – responding to specific needs caused by the cyclone.
Medical teams reported stories of villagers living with blunt trauma and broken bones for weeks with no medical attention. Patients’ chests and arms were covered with abrasions from holding onto trees and structures so they wouldn’t be swept away by floodwaters.
Since Cyclone Nargis, AmeriCares has delivered more than $4 million worth of aid to Myanmar. We will continue to provide humanitarian aid and work with our partners on the ground to save lives and restore health throughout the country.