CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 15 December 2018

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Stepping up aid to Myanmar flood victims

MANDALAY  (UCAN):  “We are getting more assessments and then delivering aid to other affected areas,” Father Paul Thar San, director of Karuna, in Hpa-an, the capital city of Kayin State, Myanmar. The area was been hit with strong monsoon winds and heavy rain since the third week of July, causing rivers to swell.
 
At least 11 people have died and more than 100,000 people have been displaced by the widespread flooding, according to the disaster management department.
 
The Catholic Church in Myanmar through Karuna Myanmar Social Solidarity-KMSS (Caritas) has stepped up the provision of emergency assistance to victims of extensive flooding, distributing relief supplies in the eastern Kayin, Bago and Tanintharyi regions.
 
Father San said 100 bags of rice have been given to flood-affected communities in the area and that several areas that to date had. not been reached by relief workers were in dire need of food.
 
Father Hubert Myo Thant Oo, director of Karuna in south-eastern Mawlamyine, Myanmar’s fourth largest city, said his staff have gone to the badly affected Palaw township and distributed 232 bags of rice in five villages.
 
Another 200 homes were partially damaged by flooding in the villages where ethnic Kayin Baptists, Buddhists and Catholics live together.
 
The priest said the five villages had not previously experienced such damaging flooding and that deforestation due to rampant logging had made the situation worse.
 
The Palaw township region is under the control of the Karen National Union (KNU) which signed a bilateral ceasefire agreement with the government in 2012.
 
Father Joseph Mg Win, director of Karuna in Yangon, said his 30-member team is being sent to 21 affected villages in the Bago Division to assess requirements.
 
On July 29, the National Disaster Management Committee urged people living near river banks and in lowland areas to move to safer locations.
 
Myanmar annually suffers the impacts of monsoon rain with more than 100 people dying in 2015 flooding.
 
In May 2008, Cyclone Nargis devastated Myanmar’s Irrawaddy Delta, killing about 140,000 people.

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