Myanmar

Myanmar quake survivors getting back on their feet

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People in a dozen villages shattered by a powerful earthquake in Myanmar three months ago are getting back on their feet with help from a Tearfund partner in Mekong Sub Region.

A 6.8 magnitude quake struck Myanmar’s Eastern Shan State killing 100 people and affecting 3,000 households, most of which were within a 25 mile radius of Tachilek, a large township situated close to the Thai border.

In many affected villages, more than half of all buildings were either damaged or destroyed, with roads, bridges and communications also knocked out.

A Tearfund partner in the Mekong Sub Region provided immediate emergency aid to communities near the epicentre, with the help of local churches.

Temporary shelter, food, water filters and medical help were distributed within hours of the aftermath, including to five villages where most of the inhabitants are suffering from leprosy.

Longer term rehabilitation work by our partner to help survivors recover continues.

Unfamiliar

This includes providing filters for safe drinking water, building new water supply systems, reconstructing damaged water tanks and toilets. Help is also being given to restore the farming livelihoods of villagers.

Davidson Solanki, Tearfund’s Country Representative for the Mekong Sub Region, said the earthquake was an unfamiliar disaster for those affected but had brought people closer together.

‘Among the communities, this disaster has created a sense of responsibility towards other people who are in need,’ he said.

Davidson explained there were encouraging stories of churches reaching out to people in need.

For example, the church in Pam Peh leprosy village helped remove the rubble of collapsed buildings. The shared shock of going through this disaster has left locals determined to lookout for each other: U Paulu, a leader at Pam Peh, said, ‘We will help others in case of another disaster.’

The church in Tarjant village formed three groups to repair houses and encouraged members to set aside a tenth of the aid they had received to give to other affected communities.