Myanmar

Partners reach isolated quake-hit villages

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Tearfund partners are successfully managing to bring vital aid to thousands of isolated villagers hit by a powerful earthquake in eastern Myanmar (Burma) nearly three weeks ago.

About 100 people died and another 150 were injured after a 6.8 magnitude tremor struck Eastern Shan State at the end of last month.

Assessments put the number of people affected at 18,000 across 90 villages, with widespread damage to roads, bridges, schools, churches and monasteries.

In the 50 most severely affected villages, more than half of all buildings have either been damaged or destroyed.

One church building in the Lahu ethnic community of Kya Kuni collapsed while a large gathering of women were inside, with 25 people reported to have been killed and many more badly injured.

Three Tearfund partners have been working in the affected areas since the immediate aftermath of the quake.

Isolated ethnic Akha and Lahu communities, which have received no other outside help, are being assisted by two partners.

Leprosy

Food, water, medical kits, temporary shelter and non-food items, such as cooking utensils, have been supplied and work is progressing to set up a trauma care and support service for those affected.

One local church-based partner, which has been doing long-standing development work in the area using staff from the same ethnic and cultural backgrounds as those affected by the quake, was able to access damaged areas immediately and to start disaster response activities within 24 hours.

From an initial response in five villages, relief work has spread to 22 villages.

Another partner is offering help to five villages where leprosy is heavily prevalent, once again offering food aid, water and sanitation.

Partner staff also plan to set up Village Relief Committees which will help implement recovery activities, with special attention towards people with disabilities, the elderly, women and children.

Using partner expertise on reducing the impact of disasters, homes will be rebuilt so they are better able to withstand future earthquakes and villagers will receive disaster response training.

Land restoration and repairs to water supplies will also be carried out.