A Chiswick resident showed the true spirit of Christmas by helping families hit by the cyclone in Burma this year.

Chris Man, 31, will spend the festive period 1,000s of miles from his West London home working as an intern for medical aid agency Merlin, in the Laputa District in Myanmar, one of the places hit worst by the natural disaster.

Although originally based in the organisation’s head office in London when he began his internship last March, when Cyclone Nargis struck in May Mr Man made his first visit to the country as part of Merlin’s relief operation.

He said: “Despite the fact that I was an intern, I have a lot of previous experience working with a management consultancy firm and my boss felt that I had shown a strong aptitude for logistics in head office.

“When the opportunity arose to go back to Myanmar for a five month placement with Merlin, I jumped at the chance.

“I certainly miss my family and friends, particularly around this time, but it is incredibly satisfying to be playing a role in the recovery process of this devastated area and seeing the progress that is being made.

“We had a small celebration here, but to be honest, there is a lot to do, and people’s health needs in the cyclone affected area do not go away just because it is the holidays.”

As part of the relief operation teams of health staff have been visiting remote villages by boat to provide health care focusing on the most vulnerable groups and training local volunteers to provide their communities with basic health care.

Critical aspects of Mr Man’s role include ensuring that a continuous flow of medicines are available for the clinincs at all times and coordinating Merlin’s large fleet of boats To find out more visit merlin.org.uk