Super-cyclone strikes Myanmar
18 May 2011
When Cyclone Nargis swept over Myanmar on 2 May 2008, it took almost 140,000 lives and left many more in desperate need of assistance.
Caritas supported young Buddhist monks after a Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar in 2008.
The Church, with Caritas’ support, started providing help immediately. Such prompt action was all the more important because aid agency international staff had difficulty entering the country immediately after the disaster. Many Caritas staff were part of local communities, spoke the language and understood the culture. The outreach of Caritas and Church partners following the disaster was exceptional.
The response to the cyclone was a good example of how effective Caritas can be in a big emergency by working through a facilitating partner.We had a good response to the appeal, and project implementation and reporting went according to plan.
Caritas raised $6.3 million (€4.6 million) to support its programmes in Myanmar. In the first three months after the disaster, Caritas had helped over 82,000 people with water, food, shelter, medical assistance, mosquito nets, hygiene items and psychological support. Many volunteers joined the relief effort to help their fellow country people.
After the initial emergency, Caritas focused on helping farmers replant rice paddies and restart farming activities, as well as providing people with funds to set up small businesses.
Challenges two years after the disaster included poverty, water shortages, unemployment and livelihood difficulties and a vulnerability to further natural disasters. Caritas Australia was asked to extend its role as facilitating partner until April 2011.