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Myanmar

ACN promises emergency aid

Following large floods, a cyclone and landslides in parts of Myanmar, Aid to the Church in Need expresses its solidarity with Myanmar’s flood victims.

Montreal, Monday August 17, 2015 – The Catholic aid organisation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has promised prayers and emergency aid on a case by case basis for those people in Myanmar who are suffering from the effects of the heavy rainfall.

Reconstruction projects in the hard-hit areas will likewise be taken into consideration. An estimated 1.28 million people in twelve states of Myanmar have been affected by the effects of the heavy monsoon rains between late July and early August – among them the particularly poor states of Chin and Rakhine in the west. According to press reports, up to the present time more than 100 people have lost their lives due to the heavy flooding in Myanmar.

Badly damages done by 10days rain July 26 - August 4 and by landslide as one result of the flooding (Cyclone Kome) in Western Myanmar, picture taken on 30th of July 2015 - the houses slipped onto the streets Only this very small file quality available
Badly damages done by 10days rain July 26 – August 4 and by landslide as one result of the flooding (Cyclone Kome) in Western Myanmar, picture taken on 30th of July 2015 – the houses slipped onto the streets
Only this very small file quality available

“Our people have never seen such a disaster in their lives.”

Since it became aware of the catastrophe, the Catholic relief organization Aid to the Church in Need has been in touch with the local Church in the affected regions. Local sources from the predominantly Christian region of Chin are informing the aid organization about the situation. “Our region has never seen a calamity as extreme as the one that took place in the first week of August,” they report. “Hakha is a mountainous region where various tribes of Chins have dwelt on mountains’ slopes and tops. Most of these mountains have been affected by landslides. The town of Hakha took the worst of the fury of nature’s impact. Most of the buildings are affected. People’s houses are damaged. Cracks have appeared in many houses and the people are scared to continue living in them. The access roads were heavily damaged, thus making the relief supply more difficult. Half of the houses are totally destroyed in many areas. Our people have never seen such a disaster in their lives.”

Also the Church’s infrastructure has been affected, according to local sources. So far the cathedral of Hakha remains undamaged, although threatened by landslides. Five churches and many public buildings have been smashed by falling landslides, report the affected. The government is helping. However, many places are in remote areas and access remains difficult.

“The Church is familiar with the remote villages and has started to help. Now people need above all food and medical help, as well as emergency accommodation. Emergency aid must be provided. The majority of the people will probably need to be relocated.” Yet all the damage was not foreseeable, because many areas cannot be reached and no communication with them is possible. “However, the spirit of solidarity and willingness to help on the spot is great and admirable. After all, many are very poor themselves,” a local Church representative told Aid to the Church in Need.

 

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