Burma Emergency Appeal Update - HOPE (UK)
Read a short update on work being done in Burma since cyclone Nargis in May 2008...
It is almost exactly a year since Cyclone Nargis hit Burma, on May 2nd 2008, killing around 150,000 people and leaving a further 55,000 missing. HOPE International’s staff in Burma have been on the ground for many years and were therefore in a prime position to release funds raised overseas to local grass-roots medical and relief organizations, who were able to access the hardest-hit areas and begin to bring assistance almost immediately.
In Burma, HOPE partners with a local NGO named Kwe Ka Bo, who provide medical treatment to extremely remote areas of Burma using converted buses as operating theatres and a ‘clinic-boat’ to access area only available by water. Kwe Ka Bo’s local knowledge and networks were extremely effective in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis. The organization used its mobile clinics to access remote areas and implement minor procedures, as well as bringing in specialists for more major operations. Kwe Ka Bo continues to work in the aftermath of Nargis, implementing not only treatments, but also primary care and health education in schools, as shown in this photograph.
Much of HOPE’s work in Burma is focused on facilitating previously estranged communities to work together. With around 185 ethnic peoples represented in the country and a history of colonial ‘divide and rule’, building bridges between neighbours is often a long and arduous job. After the cyclone, HOPE partners took this photograph of villagers from dwellings on two sides of a river, who prior to the disaster had been at odds, cooperating in creating a permanent structure to allow them access to one anothers' land. This example of community reconciliation was one of the positives people in Burma created from the devastation they experienced in the aftermath of Nargis. Encouraging regional capacity building by cooperating in equal-access health and education issues, as well as facilitating communication between communities, are some of the ways that HOPE supports this process. HOPE UK intends to send further support to Burma in 2009, and we look forward to bringing you further updates from the country later in the year.