I just received this email from Samaritan's Purse and figured I'd pass on the information.
Samaritan's Purse relief workers who arrived in Myanmar two days after the deadly cyclone report a desperate situation in the aftermath of what appears to be the world’s deadliest storm of the 21st century.
Three water specialists from our Canada office, who had already planned the trip to visit a water filter project being conducted by a ministry partner, flew into the capital of Yangon on Monday.
“The city and country are in shock,” said one of our staff members. “Yangon has been heavily hit. Trees and power lines are down, and water availability is severely limited.”
Yangon is located in the Irrawaddy delta, which took a direct hit from Cyclone Nargis. A 12-foot storm surge swept away entire towns and villages.
“Our partner is receiving reports that more than 60 villages were completely wiped out in the delta region,” the Samaritan's Purse worker said. “They have heard forecast deaths of over 100,000, with bodies currently lying in the coastal waters. Many people attempted to escape the rising tides and flooding by climbing on to their roofs, but the cyclone’s strong winds carried people away. Most were unable to swim, and others became exhausted attempting to stay afloat during the 12-hour storm period.”
That figure is almost five times more than the 22,000 the Myanmar government has estimated. According to news reports, as many as 70,000 people are missing in the delta, which has a population of nearly six million people. The official Myanmar government figure for the missing is 41,000. The United Nations estimates that up to a million people could be homeless.
Samaritan's Purse has sent staff members from six countries to a staging area in Bangkok, capital of neighboring Thailand. They are ready to begin extensive relief efforts as soon as the military junta that runs Myanmar grants a United Nations request to grant visas to international relief workers.
“The largest needs include drinking water, food, and shelter,” said our staff already in the country. “The need for water becomes increasingly important in the coming days as disease and dehydration spread.”
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