|© UNICEF Myanmar/2008/Win Naing|
|UNICEF staff travel to a remote village in western Ayeyarwady Division.|
When the cyclone struck Myanmar, many of the worst-hit areas were unreachable by road. Plus, there was the problem of getting permission to enter the country. A lot of relief organizations were turned away or had to wait for government-issued visas”a long process when time is critical.
But not UNICEF.
UNICEF didn’t need special entry because it’s been in Myanmar since 1950.
UNICEF didn’t need special entry because it’s been in Myanmar since 1950.So when it came time to respond, UNICEF was ready with 130 staff members and pre-stocked emergency supplies inside the country. It quickly distributed family health kits, tents and water purification tablets (to prevent waterborne diseases like cholera and diarrhea”top killers in post-disaster environments) to more than 150,000 people within days.
UNICEF is now scaling up their efforts to reach all survivors and is working to achieve longterm solutions for cyclone-affected regions. For children, this means restoring normalcy in their lives and helping them overcome their trauma. One of the best ways to do this is by creating child-friendly spaces, which can serve as both safe play-areas and make-shift schools.
About 3,000 schools have been badly damaged or destroyed by the cyclone. So, UNICEF has ordered large quantities of School-in-a-Backpack, a mobile classroom that carries school supplies and has been used successfully in previous emergencies.
As in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, UNICEF plans to be part of the long-term rehabilitation effort and help communities rebuild.
Last week, a Los Angeles Times article stated, “To help cyclone victims, the best aid organization is arguably UNICEF. It has experience operating in Myanmar (it already has an office in Yangon) and has stockpiled emergency supplies in the region. And it’s big and independent enough not to be pushed around by the military government.”
So act now, and help save the children of Myanmar by donating here.