IDE’s first response to cyclone Nargis survivors is to provide clean water supplies for large groups of homeless men, women and children now gathered in temporary encampments, monasteries, and schools in the worst affected areas of the Irrawaddy Delta. Lakes and ponds are the most common drinking water sources in these coastal areas, and serious outbreaks of dysentery (and possibly cholera) have already been reported in these areas where surface water is now contaminated with decomposing animals and humans. To reach the largest number of people in the shortest time, IDE is using its “water basket” in conjunction with WaterGuard rapid chlorination and IDE treadle pumps. The Water Basket is an inexpensive, highly portable 200 gallon container made from locally available plastic tarp material. A single filling of one Water Basket provides the minimum daily water requirement for at least 250 people. Rapid refilling with treadle pumps can easily provide clean water for up to 1000 people each day.
Our teams are currently setting up over 100 Water Basket systems per day reaching up to 25,000 people. Each installed WaterBasket system typically costs US $23.
We are also training other organizations to set up these clean water supply systems themselves. We are offering technical briefings and making Water Baskets available free of charge to all these groups. Over 250 have been provided thus far.
We’re also providing cyclone victims with temporary shelter materials to the large numbers of families still residing in villages that were destroyed during the cyclone. In the target areas, up to 95% of homes were destroyed. Traditional building materials are not available during this time of year, so rural households do not have materials for basic protection from the elements. IDE is providing plastic sheeting procured locally in Yangon and locally available bamboo poles. We are currently providing materials to shelter 25,000 people each day.
IDE is also providing food and basic necessities for groups of homeless survivors. This is being done through cash transfers of between US $5 and $15 per family. Most monasteries have well managed distribution systems that are targeted and fully transparent. Families will use these donations to purchase rice, cooking oil, salt, medicines, pots and pans, blankets, and other basic necessities. We piloted this cash transfer approach during the days immediately following the cyclone and are now using it with all 27 teams. We are currently trying to reach 10,000 families a week with this type of assistance.
Beginning in late May, we will begin our medium-term agricultural recovery strategy, which will provide assistance to 25,000 small plot farmers who require seeds, fertilizer, irrigation pumps, and other inputs.
Thank you for your generous assistance. It is needed now more than ever as the people of Myanmar still lack the basic necessities of life in the aftermath of this tragedy.