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15 May, 2008

Malteaser Reports 80,000 Deaths in Labutta Township, Burma, Union of Myanmar

Malteser International, which through its affiliates has a history of extending aid to the sick and injured dating back to hospices of the Knights of Malta in the middle ages, has been working in Burma / Myanmar since 1996 on small scale health issues. Because of its relationships with various bishops and government approval, Malteser has been able to deliver on-the ground aid to the affected since shortly after Cyclone Nargis, and has been providing frequent reports from the region as well as photos.

First results of assessment report from the delta area revealed an extremely serious situation. There is an urgent need of relief assistance for water, sanitation, food, shelter and medical supplies. The hospital in Labutta is not operational anymore.

According to local authorities more than 80,000 death cases are estimated in the area of Labutta Township. The people live on rice soup which was donated by the communities and the rice portions are insufficient. Many people suffer of burns or bruises by flying palm tree leaves or bamboo shields leaving big wounds on the backs of the people. Main problems are also diarrhea and skin diseases. Furthermore, there are a large number of lactating mothers for whom the horrible situation they suffer is leading to feeding problems and health risks for the babies. The number of pregnant women is high and midwives are essential but not available.

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