Supporting Medical Team Headed for Myanmar

In response to Cyclone Nargis, which has killed an estimated 22,500 people and displaced approximately 1 million more, Direct Relief has committed financial assistance to support Australian Aid International’s emergency medical team. AAI, a long-time trusted partner, is dispatching an experienced five-person medical team to Myanmar this week. The team consists of physicians, paramedics, and a logistician.

Along with conducting an assessment of health and medical needs, AAI will focus on emergency care for injured and sick patients through the operation of mobile medical outreach clinics. AAI plans to support and strengthen the existing primary health care infrastructure, and will work with Direct Relief to target appropriate medical materials required for recovery efforts.

Direct Relief has joined with Melbourne-based AAI during several recent emergency response efforts, including the July 2006 earthquake in Jogjakarta, Indonesia, October 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, and 2006 civil unrest in the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. Among other things, those experiences led AAI to help Direct Relief develop 75-lb “jump packs” that contain instruments, suturing material and wound dressings, and a basic array of medicines for emergency care.

Direct Relief today consulted with 10 colleague organizations, including two that operate clinics in Myanmar, and has received an initial request for medical material assistance for which logistics plans are being developed.

Also, we note with deep thanks that today Google today posted on its home page a link featuring UNICEF and Direct Relief International.

In previous emergencies that generated significant attention and contributions, we have found it important to clarify our donations policy and we do so again here and on the donations page of our Web site. Although circumstances in Myanmar – including governmental actions – will affect response efforts, our commitment is to assist people and communities affected by the tragedy in the most productive manner possible.

All contributions received by our organization – whether for this particular incident or for our humanitarian efforts worldwide – are used only for programmatic purposes. All our organization’s non-program expenses (fundraising and general management) are paid with funds received from a generous bequest in 2006.

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