Friday, May 9, 2008 – MYANMAR: Canadian Medical Assistance Teams is coordinating an emergency response to help the tens of thousands of people affected by Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar. A CMAT team made up of two paramedics, Bill Coltart and Chris Kaley, and Sandra Hodge, a nurse practitioner, will be departing from Vancouver shortly. Their first concern will, be to carry out a rapid assessment on the ground which will dictate CMAT response over the coming days, as well as some treatment of trauma patients.
Preliminary reports suggest that tens of thousands of people have been killed and thousands more are missing. Electrical and telephone lines are down, affecting delivery of services and aid, blocking roads and access to rescue vehicles. Women and children make up more than 60 per cent of Myanmar’s population, and are likely to be prominent among those affected. Experience shows that children are less able to physically defend themselves against such forces of nature and are highly vulnerable to the dangers that follow in their wake.