As the recovery effort continues in Myanmar (also known as Burma) almost two months after Cyclone Nargis destroyed villages and upended lives, Direct Relief has provided an additional $283,000 in cash assistance to support clinics treating at-risk populations and to bolster grassroots community recovery efforts. Based on relationships established by staff in country to assess needs in the days following the cyclone, Direct Relief has sent grants to several trusted partners.
An $83,000 grant to Marie Stopes International (MSI) will support the expanded health services the nongovernmental organization is providing to vulnerable populations affected by Cyclone Nargis. MSI has been working in Myanmar for more than a decade in its established network of 20 clinics, focusing on reproductive and sexual health. After the cyclone hit, MSI rededicated its resources, including its 450 employees, to treat cyclone victims, sending assessment and aid teams into the Irrawaddy Delta to treat the large population desperately in need of medical care.
Direct Relief’s $25,000 grant to Better Burmese Health Care (BBHC) will help pay for physician and staff salaries, medical supplies, medication, testing, and ongoing training. A nonprofit humanitarian organization, BBHC maintains an established network of clinics in Myanmar that treat patients without the means to access care, and trains Burmese medical workers. Immediately after the cyclone, BBHC set up eight additional emergency clinics to provide acute medical care for the homeless and injured, and has been working to prevent the outbreak of infectious diseases. It collaborates closely with partners inside and outside the country to distribute essential medications, including antimalarials.
To help cyclone victims rebuild their devastated communities, Direct Relief has provided $175,000 in grants to two groups supporting the recovery effort in the Irrawaddy Delta. These grassroots community development organizations (they have asked to remain anonymous) have extensive knowledge of local needs and have worked cooperatively to help populations impacted by decades of civil strife to become stable and self-reliant. Nongovernmental and nonsectarian, they have years of experience working with Burmese populations to create self-help initiatives and support sustainable community-based projects. They train community leaders in leadership and vocational skills, including how to facilitate local development in a participatory process, sustainable agriculture, natural-resource management, community income generation, and micro-credit.
Direct Relief’s recent grants are the latest step in providing most-needed and specifically requested aid to partners assisting cyclone victims. Direct Relief has delivered more than $2 million in medical material aid to Myanmar since early May, when emergency response needs were first identified. This recent cash infusion boosts our total grants in Myanmar to $426,000.