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Myanmar: Aid to remote Putao in northern Kachin state

15-01-2014 News Release

Yangon (ICRC) – The Myanmar Red Cross Society and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today began a joint distribution of aid to people displaced by fighting in 2011 and in August 2013 from five villages around Putao, the northernmost town of Kachin state. Over 200 people receiving the aid now reside in two camps and with host families.

"The Myanmar Red Cross is providing families with food and other items that were funded by public cash donations," explained Bart Vermeiren, the deputy head of the ICRC delegation in Myanmar. "It made arrangements for transport and shared the cost with our organization, which also donated blankets and winter clothing."

The two partner organizations are now assessing the feasibility of carrying out joint programmes to help displaced people earn a living.

The ICRC began working in northern Kachin state in 2004, when it first visited detainees in the Putao area. It continues to visit detainees throughout Myanmar to monitor the conditions in which they are held and to help them maintain contact with their families.

In Kachin state, the ICRC provides medical facilities with training in the treatment of patients with weapon-related injuries, donates supplies and offers other support. Physical rehabilitation programmes funded by the ICRC and conducted by the Myanmar Red Cross enable amputees to resume a productive life. In addition, ICRC water and sanitation activities are carried out both in prisons and in medical and physical rehabilitation facilities in the state.

In Rakhine state, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Health and the Myanmar Red Cross, the ICRC upgrades state and district health-care facilities, supports specialist staff such as midwives, backs vaccination campaigns, and conducts emergency medical evacuations. The ICRC and the Myanmar Red Cross also cooperate with the Ministry of Agriculture to improve livelihoods by distributing seed, fertilizer and tools.

For further information, please contact:
Michael O'Brien, ICRC Yangon, tel: +95 9420 107 606