Supplies are continuing to arrive at the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) base in Pathein, following the devastation of cyclone Nargis in Myanmar. The supplies include food, plastic sheeting and other medical and relief supplies. The medical supplies have been donated to Pathein Hospital and an office has been set up to co-ordinate the activities in the area. A significant number of staff have been hired locally by MSF, bringing the total number of people working for the organization in the Irrawaddy Delta to more than 200. Most of the MSF staff working in the region are medical, water sanitation and logistical staff. There are 22 teams working in the most affected areas. Teams are carrying out medical consultations, distributing food, plastic sheeting and other relief items, purifying water and cleaning up internally displaced people (IDP) sites. So far there have been no signs of any epidemics.

MSF has also set up an operations hub in Haingyi — in the south-west corner of the Delta. The town was badly affected, with 90 per cent of houses destroyed. There are four teams working in Haingyi. Two teams are operating in Tongwa and there are a further four teams in Pyinsalu, two towns east of Haingyi. New supplies, including plastic sheeting and food, are being sent to Pyinsalu today, supplies which will reach 20,000 to 30,000 people. There are now eight teams working in Laputta, which was also badly affected with 80 per cent of buildings damaged. MSF has begun setting up a second base in Laputta where there are about 30 IDP sites with 3,000 to 5000 people in each camp. Food, shelter materials, water sanitation and medical supplies have been sent to Laputta. MSF is co-ordinating with aid agency Merlin on water sanitation activities and with the World Food Programme (WFP) on bringing in food supplies. Further east in the areas of Twantey, Kawhmu, and Bogaley there are 15 MSF staff — doctors, nurses, experts in water and sanitation, and logisticians split into three teams. MSF has set up a base in Twantey, where two teams have distributed food rations to 4,350 people and are carrying out medical consultations, as well as nutritional screening of children. They have also cleaned and chlorinated contaminated wells in order to improve access to drinkable water. On Sunday, an MSF team visited the town of Ma-Ubin, where 3,000 people have been resettled. The needs there seem covered by the authorities. Food and clean water are available. MSF intends to assess the situation in rural areas further south of Ma-Ubin in the coming days. MSF teams have also assessed the area of Kawhmu, with an estimated population of 140,000. Tens of thousands of people are homeless and have gathered in about 60 IDP sites. The rural areas have been heavily flooded and very little assistance has yet arrived. In Kungyangon, 11,000 houses have been destroyed. Displaced people in the town have gathered in 20 IDP sites with around 600 people in each. MSF is planning to organize mobile medical teams in the town, and to offer this assistance by boat in the rural areas. In Bogaley, a district of 100,000 people, thousands have been killed and many more are homeless. The hospital of Bogaley is still functioning but seven out of the eight health centres in the area have been destroyed. MSF has distributed food and relief items and provided medical care to people but is facing increasing constraints by the authorities. In Yangon MSF is distributing supplies and doing water sanitation at around 30 IDP sites around the capital, although it is expected that these activities will wind down in the next few days. We are investigating whether there is a need to do outreach activities in the area around Yangon. More than one week after the disaster, despite the sending of three cargo planes and some positive signals, it has been very difficult to provide much needed supplies to the heavily affected population in Myanmar. As of today, MSF still awaits the approval of dozens of visa applications for technical support staff and coordinators submitted to various embassies around the world.

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