AmeriCares was one of the first humanitarian aid organizations to land an airlift of medical relief into Yangon, Myanmar after Cyclone Nargis left more than 100,000 dead and destroyed housing and healthcare. The airlift included over 15 tons of medicines and supplies for the Burmese people affected by the cyclone, including communities within the destroyed Irrawaddy Delta region.
We have continued to provide aid to Myanmar and in the coming days, AmeriCares will launch the next phase of support with the first of several shipments of medicines and medical supplies valued at more than $1.2 million. The aid will help stop the spread of disease, treat illness, and continue to help restore health to the country.
This phase complements other recent initiatives, resulting in the delivery of medicines, medical supplies and nutritional supplements to:
Treat cholera and other deadly diseases caused by the destruction of sanitary systems;
Treat anemia in more than 100 orphanages;
Provide basic care for rural health clinics; and
Support large scale disease control for Malaria and Dengue Fever.
“When we arrived in Yangon, our first order of business was to deliver medicines and medical supplies for survivors of the cyclone,” said Ella Gudwin, an AmeriCares emergency relief team member and one of the first U.S. aid workers allowed into Myanmar.
After the Cyclone, access to the hundreds of thousands of survivors isolated in remote villages was heavily restricted. Only mobile medical teams of Burmese doctors and nurses could reach them, and they needed the treatments to care for hundreds of patients a day.
Within 48 hours of AmeriCares airlift arriving, medicines and supplies were in the hands of our partners, including the International Organization for Migration (IOM) who traveled by boat and four-wheel drive vehicle to care for survivors.
Small and agile, these 3-person mobile medical teams—consisting of a Burmese doctor, nurse and assistant—were able to reach isolated cyclone survivors who were without medical attention. Traveling by whatever means necessary, the teams set up temporary clinics in community monasteries and schools, which were often the only structures to survive the storm. The medical teams typically spent one or two days in each village, seeing 100 patients each day. They pledged not to leave until examining every person who had come for help.
Building on those carefully forged partnerships, AmeriCares work extends beyond immediate aid. Assessing long-term health needs, the cyclone disproportionately affected impoverished rural communities. Its salt flood waters ruined farmlands in Myanmar’s rice bowl, which will have long-term impact for food security and related malnutrition.
AmeriCares recent deliveries also are helping Myanmar’s orphans. Local partners provide free medical care to 113 orphanages in the country’s largest city with the help of medicines and medical supplies provided by our generous corporate gift-in-kind donors.