International Rescue Committee Mobilizes More Emergency Teams for Myanmar; Warns of Massive Health Disaster Unless Aid Reaches Cyclone Survivors Fast

May 09, 2008, 01:00 ET from International Rescue Committee

    BANGKOK, Thailand, May 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- International
 Rescue Committee emergency team members have arrived in Myanmar and four
 additional teams are on standby for deployment to the region as the IRC
 prepares for a possible outbreak of water-borne diseases in cyclone-ravaged
     "Nearly all homes were destroyed in the villages I assessed today and
 the survivors have virtually no access to clean drinking water," says the
 IRC's emergency coordinator, Gordon Bacon, speaking from Yangon. "With each
 passing day, we come closer to a massive health disaster and a second wave
 of deaths that is potentially larger than the first."
     In addition to aid workers mounting relief efforts on the ground, the
 IRC has medical, water, sanitation, operations and logistics experts
 already in the region or ready to be dispatched to Myanmar as soon as aid
 corridors open up.
     The IRC has emergency stocks in Dubai ready for shipment and is
 procuring cholera kits, emergency health kits and water treatment supplies
 to position in Thailand.
     "Everything hinges on access," says Greg Beck, the IRC's Thailand-based
 Asia regional director. "Unless there's a massive and fast infusion of aid,
 experts and supplies into the hardest-hit areas, there's going to be a
 tragedy at an unimaginable scale."
     The IRC is accepting contributions to support emergency relief programs
 and long-term recovery assistance in Myanmar. Donations in the U.S. can be
 made by calling 1-877-REFUGEE (1-877-733-8433) or visiting,
 and in the UK and Europe, by calling 44 020 7692 2735 or visiting
     About the IRC: A global leader in humanitarian assistance, the
 International Rescue Committee works around the world offering help and
 hope to refugees and others uprooted by conflict and oppression. During
 crises, IRC teams provide health care, shelter, clean water, sanitation,
 learning and healing programs for children and special aid for women. As
 emergencies subside, the IRC stays to revive livelihoods and help shattered
 communities recover and rebuild. The IRC also helps resettle refugees
 admitted into the United States. A tireless advocate for the most
 vulnerable, the IRC is committed to restoring hope, dignity and

SOURCE International Rescue Committee