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One Year After Myanmar Cyclone, Upcoming Farming Season Critical for Recovery


World Vision reaches nearly 350,000 survivors in Myanmar with aid and assistance, but says much still needs to be accomplished. New elevated, concrete schools will serve as community shelters in future emergencies.

Federal Way, WA, May 02, 2009 --(PR.com)-- One year after Cyclone Nargis devastated Myanmar, international aid organization World Vision says that much still needs to be accomplished to restore livelihoods, and the upcoming farming season is critical for the country’s continued recovery.

The extended recovery period is largely due to the cyclone disrupting the agricultural cycle in the country’s main food-producing region, the Irrawaddy Delta. During Cyclone Nargis, one million acres of rice paddy were inundated with salt water, 85 percent of seed stocks were wiped out and 2 million head of livestock were lost. Now, as Myanmar approaches its first full planting season since the cyclone, hope is renewed.

“Farmers are preparing seeds, fertilizers, and readying their fields for what is hoped to be a harvest that lends itself to ample food surplus,” said Mia Marina, World Vision’s Cyclone Nargis support manager. “If the season is undisrupted and the crop is a good one, we could begin to see something of a return to normalcy for many people.”

Cyclone Nargis took 84,000 lives and more than 53,000 people are still missing. World Vision first began long-term relief and development in Myanmar 40 years ago and had nearly 600 staff in the country who responded with aid almost immediately. The organization reached nearly 350,000 people with emergency supplies after the cyclone.

As part of its long-term response, World Vision is building concrete, elevated schools which will serve as community shelters if another disaster strikes. The organization is also running disaster simulations and planning evacuation routes to better equip the communities in future emergencies.

Additionally, World Vision implemented a program providing food to laborers who helped rebuild roads and buildings.

“One of the most notable things about the people of Myanmar is their resiliency,” Marina said. “Local community members and volunteers have played a huge part in getting the survivors back on their feet.”

World Vision opened more than 100 Child-Friendly Spaces after the cyclone, providing 17,000 children with safe places to receive informal education, interact with their peers, and regain a sense of normalcy.

As the organization transitions from emergency to long-term relief, it will focus on helping 100,000 people with livelihood recovery, child protection, water, sanitation, hygiene, and disaster preparedness.

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To interview World Vision staff in Myanmar, or for recent photos or b-roll, please contact Casey Calamusa at 206.310.5476 or CCalamus@worldvision.org or Pamela Sitko in Bangkok at +66 843 600345.

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. Visit www.worldvision.org/press.
Contact Information
World Vision
Rachel Wolff
253.394.2214
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www.worldvision.org/press

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