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Karuna and partners continue quake aid

Likely to be at least a year before hard-hit Shan State recovers fully

Quake damaged government run school in Tarlay, the most affected area in Shan State Quake damaged government run school in Tarlay, the most affected area in Shan State
  • ucanews.com reporter, Yangon
  • Myanmar
  • April 1, 2011
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The Catholic Church’s relief team of Karuna Myanmar will continue relief efforts in 13 villages seen to be the hardest hit by last week's earthquake in the country in collaboration with the local operations of World Vision, Red Cross and other partners.

Nyi Nyi Soe, projector director of Disaster Risk Reduction for KMSS (Karuna Myanmar Social Services) in Yangon, who is working in the quake affected areas, said Karuna had made a joint assessment with 10  other NGOs and that Karuna will take care of the 13 worst affected villages.

"We will be the key player in those 13 targeted villages and help the victims with whatever we can do for them but World Vision Myanmar will now take over the leading role," said Nyi Soe.

A series of earthquakes in northeast Myanmar and north Thailand March 24 and 25 killed at least 120 people according to independent reports although government figures remain at 74 deaths and 125 injuries.

A report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on March 30 said at least 18,000 people in 90 villages have been moderately or severely affected. The Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) reports 3,152 people are homeless.

The Karuna team is arranging temporary shelters for some 100 victims in the village of Thiri and around 50 victims in Kaw Kawt village, not so far from Mong Lin village, one of the hard hit places according to Nyi Soe.

Nyi Soe said that these people, unlike the Nargis victims, considered the shelter as just a place to rest and sleep and they all go for their work in the morning and back only in the evening.

Nyi Soe told ucanews.com by phone on March 31: “As we are not ready yet to help the victims with a housing program, we will find out how to help the victims according to the situation of their damages.”

Dr. Soe Moe Aung, the project director of HIV/AIDS in KMSS, said as many as half the villagers are suffering from diarrhea and some have skin problems, colds and coughs.

Receiving donations is another task of the Karuna team.

It has opened donation centers in the parishes and is accepting food, drinking water and cash for the victims.

“Our first priority now is distributing food items, drinking water and kitchenware which they received from the donors,” said Claudia Ko Win Myat, the coordinator of the health sector in Karuna Kengtung.

Trauma healing will also be another priority for the quake victims.

The majority of the people who experienced the earthquake seem to be scared and they are afraid to go into the buildings, said Win Myat, and there have been trauma cases in some villages "so we need to do trauma healing to the victims."

He claims it will take a year for the quake survivors to get back to normal condition.

MY13824.1647

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