The first round of food distribution (CWS)
CWS is asking New Zealanders to help rural people in Myanmar (Burma), needing food, water and agricultural support.
After heavy monsoon rains and flash flooding hit Myanmar’s south eastern states people are struggling to recover. Christian World Service is working closely with a partner who used canoes and trucks to deliver food supplies in areas where there was no other help.
By 7 August 73,000 people were living in displacement camps, thousands of hectares of farmland were destroyed and water sources contaminated. While many returned when the water receded, further flooding has forced some back to rundown camps with little support.
“There has been flooding in many parts of Asia this year affecting millions of people. The numbers are smaller in Myanmar but they still need our help,” says Pauline McKay the national director.
Already impoverished from years of conflict, the people in Kayin and Mon states were dependent on the one dry season rice crop they could afford to grow – now washed away. They need help to prepare land and plant new rice crops for harvest in October and November this year, including labour, seeds and fertiliser. Animals have drowned and need to be replaced as well as infrastructure repaired.
Access to the affected area has been difficult. Christian World Service partner Church World Service Asia Pacific (CWS A/P) was able to distribute food supplies including rice, cooking oil and beans to 1,550 people in 13 villages in Kayin state. Having completed a rapid assessment CWS A/P has now launched an expanded appeal to alleviate food shortages for 2,900 households in coming months in Kayin and Mon states. Villagers will also be paid through a cash-for-work scheme to build community infrastructure like village pumps and roads. With no other income this will help families buy their own food in the short term.
“The opening of a new embassy office in Yangon this month by the New Zealand government signals a changing relationship. CWS is asking New Zealanders to show their concern for the people of Myanmar who have missed out on decades of development and now face a very uncertain future,” says Pauline McKay.
In 2008 CWS responded to people affected by Cyclone Nargis when relations were more difficult. CWS P/A provided some of the only relief assistance in parts of the Irrawaddy delta and has continued its involvement in the country.
Donations to the Myanmar Appeal can be sent to CWS, PO Box 22652, Christchurch 8140, or at www.cws.org.nz/donate or by ringing 0800 74 73 72.
CWS and CWS A/P are members of the ACT Alliance. ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together) consists of more than 130 national churches and groups working in 140 countries for humanitarian assistance and development. ACT helps where needed regardless of race, religion or region.
For further information contact: CWS National Director, Pauline McKay. Phones: 03 366 9274 or 021 289 1225