Canadian Red Cross

Canadian Red Cross

May 06, 2008 17:07 ET

Thousands of Myanmar Red Cross Volunteers Respond as Canadian Red Cross Launches Emergency Appeal

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 6, 2008) - As the full extent of the devastation wrought by Cyclone Nargis becomes clearer, thousands of Myanmar Red Cross volunteers are working around the clock to reach and support those affected by the ferocious storm.

The Canadian Red Cross is supporting the relief efforts in Myanmar with an initial contribution of $100,000. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has launched a preliminary emergency appeal for $6 million. The appeal will support those efforts already underway to reach affected communities with emergency shelter kits, water, mosquito nets and other items.

"This will be very much a preliminary emergency appeal, and we expect this figure to increase as more information becomes available," says Charlie Musoka, emergency operations manager for the Canadian Red Cross.

Latest official figures suggest that more than 22,000 people lost their lives in the storm that made landfall on Friday, May 2. This figure would make Nargis the world's deadliest cyclone since 1991.

"The scale of this disaster really can't be underestimated," says Mr. Musoka. "Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their homes and possessions as well as their livelihoods."

Over the past days, thousands of local Red Cross volunteers have been distributing basic relief items such as tarpaulins, mosquito nets, potable water and water purification tablets. Teams of volunteers have also been through some of the worst affected areas along the Irrawaddy delta, assessing damage and needs of communities, including health needs.

Reports from the International Federation team in Myanmar suggest extensive devastation across the affected region. In some villages along the Irrawaddy river delta, 95 per cent of houses have been destroyed. While in Yangon, access to running water and electricity has been severely limited.

The International Federation has sent its regional disaster management coordinator to the country. Funds will also support the deployment of resources and personnel to Myanmar. Plans are underway to send an initial consignment of emergency shelter kits by plane from Kuala Lumpur tomorrow.

Canadian Red Cross disaster response personnel and relief supplies are on standby to deploy.

Canadians wishing to make a financial donation may give online at, call 1-800-418-1111 or contact their local Canadian Red Cross office. The 24-hour toll free line accepts Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Cheques should be made payable to the Canadian Red Cross, earmarked "Myanmar Cyclone" and mailed to the Canadian Red Cross National Office, 170 Metcalfe Street, Suite 300, Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 2P2.

The Canadian Red Cross is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which includes the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and 186 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Our mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and around the world.

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