AKRON, Pa. – Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is supporting Church World Service (CWS) in providing relief to survivors of a catastrophic cyclone in the southeast Asian nation of Myanmar, also known as Burma.

MCC is providing an initial $20,000 to CWS to distribute water purification tablets, water containers and other supplies to provide clean drinking water to people affected by the cyclone. According to news reports, the cyclone flooded wells and other water sources, putting survivors at risk of contracting waterborne diseases.

In communication with partner organizations, MCC is identifying further ways to provide relief in Myanmar after what has become the country's worst natural disaster in living memory.

Cyclone Nargis made landfall on May 2 in Myanmar's delta region, driving a storm surge over coastal areas. According to news reports, the cyclone claimed tens of thousands of lives and devastated an area that is home to several million people.

News reports have highlighted the difficulty that some aid organizations are facing in obtaining governmental permission to enter Myanmar and provide supplies. According to Tom Wenger, MCC's associate director for Asia, CWS already has staff members and supplies in the country.

MCC's support will help CWS provide drinking water to about 3,000 to 4,000 people who have been affected by the cyclone.

MCC has committed $100,000 to support relief and recovery efforts in Myanmar. Contributions should be designated "Myanmar (Burma) relief and recovery" and may be made online at mcc.org/donate or at any MCC office.

Tim Shenk is a writer for Mennonite Central Committee.