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Church teams reach quake-hit villages

Food and medicine arrive remote area where buildings have been demolished

Damaged houses in Shan state, northeastern Myanmar Damaged houses in Shan state, northeastern Myanmar
  • ucanews.com reporter, Yangon
  • Myanmar
  • March 28, 2011
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A team of 20 staff from Karuna Kengtung Social Services (KKSS) and some 30 volunteers are working in remote villages in the area affected by the earthquake in northeast Myanmar, providing medical check-ups, distributing items and collecting data.

State media reported that at least 74 people were dead and 111 injured. Some 244 houses, 14 monasteries and nine government buildings collapsed in the 6.8 magnitude quakes that hit north-eastern Myanmar's Shan state on March 24.

But reports quote the Red Cross as saying there are 120 dead, a number expected to rise further.

Claudia U Win Myat, coordinator of the health sector in KKSS, told ucanews.com by phone March 27 that a mobile clinic team was giving out medication in the villages.

A referral group is helping seriously injured victims and organising transport for them to hospitals.

Until now they have referred about 20 serious victims to the hospitals in Tachileik and Kyaingtong, he said.

KKSS has opened two offices in the parishes of Mong Lin and Thiri, the worst-hit areas, and is coordinating the teams to respond to the quake victims effectively.

Two staff from Karuna Myanmar Social Services (KMSS) in Yangon went to Tachileik on March 27 to assist the KKSS teams.

Dr. Soe Moe Aung from KMSS said that he went with an emergency aid group and distributed food and drinking water.

“I gave medical treatment to some quake victims and treated their injuries. I found no major cases and only minor cases with some injuries in six villages,” he said.

“We will go on to reach out to other quake affected villages to assist them with whatever they need,” he said.

The church’s team has so far found that 7 Catholics died, 10 were seriously injured and some 30 were slightly hurt. Twenty Catholic houses in 11 villages are completely destroyed and 153 houses are slightly damaged.

Meanwhile 7 Catholic churches including Mong Lin and Thiri parishes are completely destroyed, the other two Catholic churches have partially collapsed and 7 church-run boarding schools have been damaged, according to U Win Myat.

Transportation is the main hindrance in getting to quake affected villages in remote areas, according to international aid organizations.

Sr. Rose Mary Naw Ru Ti, from the Sisters of Charity congregation in Kengtung, said after-shocks are continuing so people are panicking and sleeping outdoors only.

She said: “There are still many remote villages where aid groups can’t reach.”

U Win Myat said aid groups will help those who have lost their houses and who are really in need of their help, once more information has been gathered.

MY13770.1647

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