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An emergency flight carrying relief supplies of tents and water purifying kits has arrived in Yangon, the capital of Myanmar, and its cargo has been released to Save the Children.
The Dubai Cares flight arrived yesterday (May 12) and Save the Children's local staff will today begin distributing its contents.
A further two Save the Children relief flights, each containing emergency household items – plastic sheeting, buckets and cooking utensils for more than 5,000 families –are currently being prepared and are due to leave from Indonesia and Thailand in the coming days. Warehouse facilities have also been secured to facilitate safe storage.
Since the cyclone struck on May 3, Save the Children has managed to provide aid by boat and truck to around 100,000 people across the Yangon and Western Delta Division. Staff at the organisation's 35 offices across the country are being mobilised to expand operations into the Eastern Delta region over the coming days.
Two emergency experts arrived in Yangon on Sunday to help with the emergency response. One will focus on child protection, the other on logistics.
Debbie Jack, Programmes Manager of Save the Children New Zealand, says: "Aid is getting through and we are reaching people who need our help. We are finding solutions to the challenges we face.
"Our ultimate objective is to get help to children who desperately need it and we are looking at all the options. While relief efforts are expanding, clean water remains in short supply and many communities are still isolated and without help. The survival of tens of thousands of children and their families remains in doubt.
"Save the Children will not hand over any aid to the Myanmar government unless we have assurances that we can independently verify the delivery to beneficiaries, for example, if they allowed us to accompany the delivery."
Assessment teams are expanding into eight new townships around Yangon and have managed to send more than 175 tonnes of relief supplies – rice, water, tarpaulins, salt, food and oral rehydration solutions – to affected populations in the Irrawaddy Delta region.
The organisation has now reached more than 100,000 people, including around 33,000 children in both the Yangon and the Delta regions, with local staff distributing food, clean water, shelter equipment and household items.
"We are also redeploying more staff from non-affected areas of Myanmar to enable us to increase the response in both areas and are continuing to work with local authorities to reach all those affected."
Save the Children currently operates programmes in all five of the affected regions and has worked in Myanmar since 1995. As one of the largest non-governmental organisations at work in Myanmar, the agency implements programmes focused on early childhood care and development, child survival and child protection. All staff members are safe and accounted for, although their homes and families have been affected.
Last week Save the Children launched a global $12 million appeal for the victims of Cyclone Nargis. If you would like to donate you can do so in several ways:
• Call Save the Children New Zealand's donation line: 0800 167 168
• Donate via our website: www.savethechildren.org.nz
• Visit any one of Save the Children's shops across the country (visit the website to find the one closest to you)
• Send a cheque, made out to Save the Children, to Freepost PO Box 6584, Marion Square, Wellington. Mark your envelope Myanmar and don't forget to add your name and address so we can send you a receipt.
Notes for editors:
Save the Children has now reached more than 1000,000 people across the Yangon Division and Western Delta Division, and will be expanding our operation to the Eastern Delta region over the coming days. Cooperation continues with local authorities in affected areas.
More supplies have gone to Thin Gan Gyun as needed. The numbers of beneficiaries reached in the Yangon townships remains at 80,000. Assessment teams have now expanded into 8 new townships.
The Pathein team sent another boat load of supplies (75 tonnes) for the Pyin Kayaing area, and supplies have reached Labutta. It is still possible to procure supplies locally. Save the Children has now distributed 175 tonnes of relief supplies to affected populations in these areas.
Haing Gyi area (13 villages in the Dee-du-kone village tract)
Total beneficiaries reached: 9395 people; 4638 male (including 1160 boys under 12); 4575 female (including 1187 girls under 12).
Items distributed: 1000 bags rice, 5000 oral rehydration solutions, 1655 gallons water, 20 rolls tarpaulins, 6 rolls nylon rope, 28 bags salt, 1380 packs dry noodles, 40 packs raw noodles.
Total beneficiaries reached: 11599, of which 2524 were under 12.
10th May: visited 14 shelters, population 7648. Distributed 74 bags rice, 19 bags dahl.
11th May: visited 10 new shelters and two older ones. Population 3951.
The Eastern Delta teams now have 'action plans' and will begin delivering supplies in three townships: Maubin, Kyaiklat and Pyapon.