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A cyclone survivor sits in the ruins of a house in Myanmar. The cyclone claimed tens of thousands of lives and caused widespread destruction. DCA/ACT International

A cyclone survivor sits in the ruins of a house in Myanmar. The cyclone claimed tens of thousands of lives and caused widespread destruction. DCA/ACT International

MCC seeks $200,000 for cyclone relief and recovery

Tim Shenk
May 13, 2008

AKRON, Pa. – Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is supporting partner organizations in meeting basic needs for tens of thousands of people affected by Cyclone Nargis in the southeast Asian nation of Myanmar, also known as Burma.

Cyclone Nargis made landfall on May 2 and devastated southern Myanmar's delta region. According to news reports, the cyclone drove a wall of water over coastal communities before many residents could escape. The U.S. government estimates that the death toll could reach 100,000.

MCC is appealing to its constituents for $200,000 to support relief and recovery work in Myanmar. Half of these funds have already been allocated.

MCC is providing $35,000 to Metta, a relief and development organization based in Myanmar, to help provide supplies to people whose homes were destroyed by the cyclone. Metta is providing rice, medicine and other items to more than 68,000 people, including many orphans, who have gathered in camps in southwestern Myanmar.

MCC is providing $30,000 to Hope International, a partner organization that is distributing emergency supplies and providing medical treatment to cyclone survivors through mobile health teams. As of May 12, Hope International reports that its medical teams have treated 2,000 people.

MCC is providing $20,000 to Church World Service (CWS) to provide water containers and water purification equipment in 1,000 locations. CWS started distributing these items on May 10 and had reached 13 villages by May 12, according to Donna Derr, director of the CWS emergency response program.

CWS purchased these supplies in northern Myanmar, which was not directly affected by the cyclone, Derr said.

MCC is providing $15,000 to IDE-Myanmar, a partner organization that is distributing water containers, water pumps and plastic sheeting.

MCC is also applying for funds from the Canadian Foodgrains Bank to help IDE-Myanmar restore water systems that were damaged or destroyed by the cyclone. The project could include cleaning wells that were contaminated by floodwaters and repairing irrigation systems.

MCC does not currently have staff members in Myanmar. However, MCC has longstanding partnerships with organizations in Myanmar, and MCC is planning to be more involved in the country in the future, according to Ron Flaming, MCC's director of international programs.

"We know that there are going to be massive needs for rebuilding," Flaming said. "We plan to be engaged in that."

Contributions should be designated "Myanmar (Burma) relief and recovery" and may be made online at mcc.org/donate or at any MCC office.