(PORTLAND, ORE - May 30, 2008) A senior humanitarian aid expert with Medical Teams International heads to Myanmar today to begin caring for thousands of families devastated by Cyclone Nargis earlier this month.
This past Wednesday, staff member Dr. Wendy Dyment received visa approval from Myanmar’s consulate in London. She’ll arrive in Yangon on Saturday to work with the agency’s in-country partner, World Concern, and then travel to the hardest hit cyclone area, the Irrawaddy Delta. Dyment has been asked by the Sri Lankan government to work with its medical team in the disaster zone. A second physician from Medical Teams International’s office in Sri Lanka will also join the relief team for a month-long assignment.
The Sri Lankan relief workers will meet Dyment in the delta disaster area with medicines valued at $650,000 supplied by Medical Teams International. The antibiotics, pain relievers and malaria drugs will help 10,000 people for three months. Additionally, Medical Teams International sent funds to help local partners in Myanmar purchase medicines.
A pediatrician from Portland, Ore., Dyment will care for families suffering from malaria, severe intestinal illnesses, and injuries caused by the storm—all ailments that quickly escalate to deadly conditions.
“Receiving visa approval for our staff is a tremendous step forward in getting desperately needed help to families in Myanmar,” says Bas Vanderzalm, president of Medical Teams International.
“Our partnership with World Concern and the Sri Lankan government is enabling us to bring emergency care to people who have waited weeks for medical attention. We anticipate the need will be great.”
More than 100,000 people are estimated to have died in the May 2 cyclone—one of the deadliest storms to strike Myanmar in decades. An additional 2.4 million people are reported homeless and in urgent need of clean water, shelter and medicines.
Cyclone Nargis is the second major disaster Medical Teams International is responding to this month. The agency is also working in China and recently shipped nearly $500,000 in medical supplies aboard its Flight of Hope last weekend.
To donate to the Myanmar Cyclone Relief Fund, please call 800.959.4325, give online at our secure Web site or mail gifts to PO Box 10, Portland, OR 97207. Donations can also be made at any U.S. Bank branch.
Medical Teams International is a relief agency that sends volunteers and medical supplies to help people affected by disaster, conflict and poverty around the world. Since 1979, Medical Teams International has deployed more the 1,700 volunteer teams and shipped more than $1 billion in antibiotics, surgical kits and lifesaving medicines to care for 35 million people in 100 countries.