Myanmar: Red Cross distributes relief items after deadly cyclone devastates delta region

As people struggle to find shelter and food after Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar on 2 May, the Red Cross is on the ground, distributing life-saving relief items, such as drinking water, clothing, food, plastic tarpaulins, and hygiene kits.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has released an initial 200,000 Swiss francs (USD 189,000/€ 122,000) to support the Red Cross relief effort in Myanmar.

'The immediate priorities are to provide clean water and emergency shelter for people displaced by the storm," says Christine South, operations coordinator for the International Federation for Asia Pacific.

High winds, heavy rain and flood water claimed hundreds of lives and thousands of homes as Cyclone Nargis moved across the southern delta region of Myanmar. According to state television, nearly 4,000 people were killed and 3,000 are still missing.

Red Cross relief workers were on the ground soon after the storm hit, assessing the situation in the district of Yangon. Today, additional Red Cross assessment teams are in some of the most affected areas of Irrawaddy, Bago Divisions and Karen and Mon States.

'Widespread destruction is obviously making it more difficult to get aid to people who need it most,' says Michael Annear, regional disaster management coordinator for the International Federation in Bangkok.

Along with relief items, the Myanmar Red Cross is distributing insecticide-treated bed nets to help prevent malaria and purification tablets to provide clean drinking water. Also, emergency relief supplies are available in the International Federation's warehouses in Kuala Lumpur and Dubai if requested.

For further information, or to set up interviews, please contact:

Matt Cochrane, Media Officer, Tel: + 41 79 308 98 04

Eric Porterfield, Media Officer, Tel: + 41 79 308 98 30

Media Unit Duty phone-Geneva, Tel: + 41 79 416 38 81

The Geneva-based International Federation promotes the humanitarian activities of 186 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies among vulnerable people. By coordinating international disaster relief and encouraging development support, it seeks to prevent and alleviate human suffering. The Federation, National Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross together, constitute the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.