More than three months after cyclone Nargis wreaked devastation throughout Myanmar's Irrawaddy Delta and many people remain vulnerable and traumatized. Meanwhile, those affected have also displayed resilience, surviving the aftermath with no disease outbreaks to date and with signs of basic reconstruction taking place in a number of areas.
Many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are now active on the ground and adequate assistance is available. Consequently, MSF is increasingly able to focus on delivering basic healthcare through fixed and mobile clinics, with growing efforts in psychosocial care, including counselling, awareness raising, training and the continuation of a school in 5 Mile Camp in Labutta, as needs demand. We are regularly seeing cases of diarrhoea and respiratory tract Infection, along with anxiety and depression.
MSF continues to closely monitor the nutritional situation and has found a concerning number of children aged under-five at risk of malnutrition in the areas of Bogaley, Setsu and Pyapon. Therapeutic food supplements are provided for those moderately malnourished and to other vulnerable groups, such as pregnant and breastfeeding women. Meanwhile, the numbers of severely malnourished children under-five remains very low (less than one percent).
While we are in the process of handing over many of our previous activities to the relevant organisations, including all general food distribution, we continue to distribute a number of non-food items including family kits, mosquito nets, buckets, toolkits, blankets and a one-off money distribution for those who have been told they must leave the 3 Mile and 5 Mile camps in Labutta. Efforts in water and sanitation also continue , pumping and cleaning water sources, such as ponds, as well as distributing water containers and constructing latrines, amongst other work.
As the emergency phase comes to an end, MSF expects to hand over all Nargis-related programmes by the end of the year. MSF will remain in the country as before, responding to the huge medical needs of the population that are largely unmet by either the government or other external assistance.
Key Facts & Figures:
MSF continues to assist a total number of around 460,000 people
Total number of medical consultations by end of July is more than 66,000
Total number of MSF staff working in the Delta is 450
MSF has full access; numerous other NGOs also now up and running
MSF focus on health & psychosocial care, with ongoing water and sanitation & non-food distribution
MSF beginning to hand-over many activities to other relevant organisations
MSF is increasing efforts in psychosocial care
Disease - no outbreaks to date
Nutrition - cases of severe acute malnutrition remain very low (less than one percent)