Myanmar junta closes door to medics

By June 20, 2008

Myanmar (MNN) — Myanmar has
booted a team of medics, citing no need for their services.  Aid agencies have warned of the threat of an
outbreak of disease that could decimate Nargis survivors.

That concern has increased as the
government has closed refugee camps and ordered people back to their
villages. As more people return to
rebuild their shattered lives, aid workers are trying to implement village-level
systems that can offer rudimentary care and stave off the potential for epidemic
outbreaks.

Such a shift in the rebuilding of
the medical infrastructure means villagers will have to rely more heavily on
mobile clinics and local workers.

International Aid's Milton Amayun
says, "We have shipped six clinics to a partner that works within Myanmar,
especially in the disaster area. They also work with displaced people along the
Thai border."

The mobile clinics contain
everything you would find in a doctor's office. It is a good start because the basics are there, although in finite
supply. Getting replacement supplies will be tricky. Amayun says the issue is complicated by
communications isolation. "We don't
have internet in Myanmar. Cell phones are confiscated before you go into the
disaster areas." 

As needs are assessed, it takes
time to go to neighboring Thailand, make
the supply lists and get things processed, ordered and shipped. Meanwhile, the people wait. It has been six weeks since the storm
flattened villages and flooded croplands. 

However, in that time, local
believers mobilized with funds bought supplies and were able to offer
assistance. Their action helped prevent
further death and sickness.

Amayun says prayer is essential,
as well as funds. Both help
outreach. "It is not only a matter
of a political battle. It's also a spiritual one. The Christians inside Myanmar have been
mobilized. They have reached out to their own people. When they see you expend your help, even if
you are not really openly sharing the Gospel, it makes them think. When the
opportune time comes, the Holy Spirit opens doors for them to have
conversations about the love of Christ." 


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