DHAKA/YANGON (May 14, 2013) – As Tropical Cyclone Mahasen moves across the Bay of Bengal towards Bangladesh and Myanmar, the humanitarian organization CARE is ready to provide emergency assistance to affected communities in both countries. The cyclone, which is gathering strength, is expected to make landfall near the Myanmar-Bangladesh border on Thursday morning, bringing with it heavy rain and damaging winds.
CARE’s response teams in Bangladesh and Myanmar are closely coordinating with the relevant government authorities, inter-agency teams and United Nations bodies.
“Trained and experienced emergency field staff in the areas which are likely to bear the brunt of the cyclone are ready to respond once the storm has passed,” said Alex Maclean, CARE Bangladesh’s Assistant Country Director.
In Bangladesh, CARE is prepared to provide relief in three districts Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong and Noakhali, which are the areas likely to be in the path of the cyclone. The team is on stand-by for a broader response if the Cyclone affects vulnerable people elsewhere in the coastal belt. CARE has emergency family kits for 20,000 families and food rations for 6,000 families ready for distribution. “In addition to these kits, CARE has water treatment plants and water purification sachets on stock to help prevent the spread of diseases,” said MacIean.
In Myanmar, stocks of emergency family kits, which include plastic sheeting for shelter, water containers, water purification tablets, soap, cooking pots, utensils and clothes for more than 20,000 families are ready to be distributed. CARE is also sending water pumps and other equipment to Rakhine State to assist with pumping out water ponds and clearing debris if required. Rakhine State, situated on the western coast of Myanmar, is currently home to almost 140,000 displaced people, following ongoing civil unrest that began in June 2012.
“We are particularly concerned about the risks facing displaced people living in flood-prone areas and in flimsy, make-shift shelters. Thousands of people live near the coast, putting them at-risk of tidal surges, while others are camped in low-lying areas that will flood once the rains start,” said Brian Agland, CARE’s Country Director in Myanmar. “For people living in tents or tarpaulin shelters, flood waters can quickly wash away their possessions, leaving them homeless, empty-handed and hungry. Flooding can also increase the risk of water-borne diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea,” said Agland.
About CARE: Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE has more than six decades of experience delivering emergency aid during times of crisis. Our emergency responses focus on the needs of the most vulnerable populations, particularly girls and women. Women and girls are at the heart of CARE’s emergency relief efforts because our experience shows that their gains translate into benefits for families and communities.
CARE has been working in Bangladesh since 1949 and has extensive experience responding to emergencies there. In 2007, CARE responded to Cyclone Sidr, reaching nearly 500,000 people with food, water, sanitation and shelter. CARE has worked in Myanmar since 1995. After 2008’s devastating Cyclone Nargis, CARE Myanmar reached nearly 300,000 survivors with food, shelter, emergency supplies and assistance with recovery.
Essential to CARE’s lifesaving humanitarian work is our commitment to help rebuild safer, stronger places that people call home. Our programs to improve health and education, promote social justice and open up economic opportunities make communities more resilient and less vulnerable to the forces that cause emergencies. Last year, CARE worked in 84 countries and reached more than 83 million people around the world. To learn more, visit www.care.org.
Atlanta: Brian Feagans, CARE, email@example.com, +1.404.979.9453, +1.404.457.4644
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