Credits: REUTERS/Stringer, courtesy www.alertnet.org

Credits: REUTERS/Stringer, courtesy www.alertnet.org

As the number of those affected by the devastating cyclone in Myanmar continues to rise, Caritas agencies are seeking ways to respond through local Church partners.

With more than 78,000 dead with 56,000 missing and two million affected, the need to respond is immediate and vast.

Caritas President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez said, “People in Myanmar are facing a terrible humanitarian crisis. The message of our global network to them is that they are not alone. Messages of support have flooded into our offices from around the world.

“The Burmese should know that we are doing everything we can to ensure international aid efforts get through. So far we are receiving very positive messages from the Myanmar government on their need for international help. We hope this will allow non-governmental organisations such as ourselves access into the affected areas.”

Caritas has assembled an initial team drawing on staff from across the memberships with a strong representation from the local region, such as from Caritas Asia.

Caritas is working in support of the Church in Myanmar and the Burmese people and is initially looking at providing food, clean water, temporary shelter materials and medical help through partners.

Local Church partners in Myanmar have been to some of the worst affected areas. “We have a severe situation and are very worried about the people here,” said one staff member.

In a message to Caritas members, local Church partners said, “Our country is in a state of mourning. Thousands have disappeared and more than a million are displaced. The magnitude of devastation overwhelms a poor country like ours“.

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