IOM Doctors Treat Hundreds of Cyclone Victims from Delta Hub
IOM doctors are now treating over 100 victims of Cyclone Nargis
every day from a new operational hub in the Irrawaddy delta
township of Bogale.
The new facility, which is staffed by five doctors and four
nurses, will also support the work of other relief agencies and
serve as a local hub for the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC)
Emergency Shelter Cluster – the grouping of United Nations
(UN) agencies and NGOs providing tents, plastic sheets and other
shelter items to homeless cyclone survivors.
The hub, which was opened this week with the approval of the
Ministry of Health, will also serve as a base for IOM medical teams
assessing health needs in the areas worst affected by the cyclone.
Yesterday a third IOM assessment team comprising seven doctors and
two nurses left Yangon for the delta.
"The assessment teams still face huge challenges in accessing
affected areas and delivering aid. But we hope to take delivery of
four Zodiac inflatable boats next week which will transform our
capacity to reach the most remote areas," says IOM Yangon Emergency
Coordinator Federico Soda.
The Organization is distributing through its NGO partners 14 MT
of essential drugs donated by US NGO Americares which arrived in
Yangon from Amsterdam last weekend. On Wednesday this week, IOM
Yangon also took delivery of 10,000 treated mosquito nets donated
by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
Distribution of both shipments was coordinated with the Myanmar
Ministry of Health with whom IOM has had a Memorandum of
Understanding since 2004, and the World Health Organization.
The cyclone, which struck Myanmar on May 2nd, devastated five of
the country's 17 states and divisions. Up to 130,000 people are
believed to be dead or missing, with a further 2.4 million severely
affected by the storm.
At least 150,000 people are believed to be in some 120 temporary
displacement sites. These include government-managed army-style
camps with tents shown to diplomatic visitors; informal camps in
monasteries and schools, which may have to be vacated as early as
next week at the beginning of the school term; and so-called
"frontier settlements" set up by the government in remote areas,
many of which are only accessible by water.
IOM, which is chairing a temporary shelter working group within
the IASC Emergency Shelter Cluster, sees the displaced and their
eventual return or relocation as a major humanitarian challenge for
both the government and the international community.
IOM has now received USD 1.88 million of funding to respond to
the cyclone, including USD 1.45 million from the UN Central
Emergency Fund (CERF), USD 400,000 from Chevron Corporation and USD
31,500 from the Royal Danish Embassy in Yangon. It has appealed for
a total of USD 8 million to fund emergency shelter and medical
projects under the UN Flash Appeal.
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