ADRA-UK launches Myanmar cyclone appeal
ADRA-UK's Mark Castellino is on a plane to Myanmar (Burma) as part of the ADRA network response in the wake of Cyclone Nargis, a Category 4 tropical storm that struck Myanmar on 3 May, killing more than 22,000 people, leaving at least 41,000 unaccounted for, and displacing more than one million people to date.
"Over the last five days we have heard of increasing numbers of fatalities," Mark says. "Our colleagues on the ground have reported severe damage to properties, livelihoods, and worst of all, loss of life. We know that the devastation is colossal, and it demands a large scale response." Thus for Mark this is far more than just a job. "Together with my colleagues both in Burma, and from around the world, I'm hoping to be able to contribute towards bringing some alleviation to the survivors of this terrible disaster."
ADRA-UK made an initial immediate contribution of US$10,000 - a figure that will rapidly increase as the UK office is working with the ADRA network around the world to provide US$1 million aid.
"I've been to Burma two times previously," Mark says as he rapidly pulls together visas and all the other necessities for a trip like this. "When I saw the news pictures and heard the stories coming back from places that I've been to it gave it deeper meaning to me personally. I'm hoping that my contribution will make a difference to people who are suffering terribly."
ADRA has an advantage on many agencies in that it already has a presence on the ground in Myanmar. ADRA has worked with the World Food Programme in Burma for several years, distributing essential food packages to communities in remote rural areas. Since 2007 ADRA-UK has worked with programmes to increase food security, through training farmers in new agricultural skills, providing seeds and tools, and giving people new non-farming skills to enable them to make a living. This means that the ADRA Myanmar office in Yangon is already meeting the needs of families who survived the cyclone and subsequent flooding in targeted areas in the hard-hit Irrawaddy Delta in the south. Immediate aid includes water, water purification tablets, food distribution, and shelter materials.
The ADRA network is responding from all over the world. As ADRA-UK Programmes Director Mark will join a team to assess the current situation and develop responses to meet the needs. An expert in proposal writing, he is hoping to access some of the funds committed by the UK government's Department for International Development (DFID) along with other international donors. He says, "I will assist in planning how that money will be spent so that we can assist as many people as possible in the best way possible." He will be in Burma for two weeks assisting in the first phase of operations.
In direct response to the tragedy that has struck Myanmar, ADRA-UK has launched an appeal to raise funds to bring immediate relief to the victims. ADRA-UK is coordinating its efforts with the ADRA network to respond to this major disaster.
Please note that ADRA is only accepting monetary donations. It cannot accept food or clothing. Please see how much you can help by making donations by linking on to ADRA-UK website
. Cheques for the Myanmar Cyclone Appeal can also be sent to: ADRA-UK, Stanborough Park, Watford, Herts, WD25 9JZ. Make your cheques payable to "ADRA-UK" and if possible, Gift Aid your donation by including a signed note saying "Please Gift Aid this donation". In all cases, please indicate that the gift is for the "ADRA-UK Myanmar Cyclone Appeal". Visit the website
for regular updates on the crisis.