CAFOD: Making a difference in Myanmar

CAFOD: How your support makes a difference in Myanmar

At a CAFOD Clifton reception on 14 April, Fr. Pius Win Than, Assistant Director from CARITAS Myanmar, CAFOD's sister agency, extended his gratitude to all in our parish for supporting CAFOD and in "showing mercy and compassion" through the generous donations that CARITAS Myanmar has received from CAFOD.

Giving a first hand account, Fr. Pius, who survived Cyclone Nargis that wrecked his village in the Partein Diocese, described the large-scale devastation of the powerful cyclone on 3rd May 2008. 150,000 people were killed, and a further 2.4 million people were affected, with homes, farmlands and crops destroyed.

Thanks to CAFOD’s support and your donations CARITAS Partein is able to work with the poor and vulnerable communities of Partein Diocese by setting up disaster risk reduction and preparedness strategies, such as installing loudspeakers to warn of bad weather and cyclones, and the building of embankments to prevent sea water from damaging crop fields (wet rice farming requires clean water).

To mitigate the damage caused by disasters, CARITAS Partein is putting in place emergency preparedness plans. Illustrating with a slide presentation, Fr. Pius described the installation of high-level pumps to draw clean drinking water from wells to a high over-head tank, as well as the construction of high-level grain storage facilities. As an aside, Fr. Pius informed that the diocese has bought five acres of farmland for growing padi. During harvest, 10 bags of rice per acre are stored for emergency rations. Older stocks are sold.

Through information and support from local CARITAS staff, the poor have a better understanding of their basic human rights. They also learn about the importance and need to maintain good hygiene standards to protect their health, and the importance of planting trees to prevent soil erosion.

By Irene Prentice, CAFOD Parish Contact