United for a Good Cause

I believe that some of you have read or heard about the situation in Myanmar. It was discouraging to read one report from Yahoo last night that the U.N. had suspended relief flight after the Myanmar government blocked the U.N. agency from distributing supplies it flew into Yangon on Friday. I was relief to read just a while ago that U.N. has resumed relief flights although relief workers were still being barred entry.

According to John Holmes, the U.N. coordinator for humanitarian affairs, he said that the death toll from Cyclone Nargis ranges from 63,000 to 100,000, well above the Myanmar government’s announced toll of 22,000. Most of the victims were in the Irrawaddy Delta, where as many as 6 million people lived. It was reported that about 2,000 square miles of land in the Irrawaddy Delta is under water. With phone lines down, roads blocked and electricity networks destroyed, it was nearly impossible to reach isolated areas in the swamped Irrawaddy delta, where the stench of unburied and decaying bodies added to the misery. Heavy rain that is forecast in the next week is certain to worsen the plight of almost 2 million people awaiting food, clean water, shelter and medicine, according to The Associated Press.

In this photograph released by Democratic Voice of Burma on Friday, May 9, 2008, bodies of children killed during Cyclone Nargis lay in water in an unknown location in Myanmar.(AP Photo/str)

A child plays in flood water, from Cyclone Nargis, 30 km (19 miles) from the centre of Yangon in this handout photograph taken May 9, 2008. REUTERS/Joe Lowry/International of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies/Handout (MYANMAR).

Survivors in one of the worst-affected areas, near the town of Bogalay about 20 miles inland, were among those fighting hunger, illness and wrenching loneliness.

“All my 28 family members have died,” said Thein Myint, a 68-year-old fisherman who was overcome by tears and trauma as he tried to explain how the May 3 cyclone swept away the rest of his family. “I am the only survivor.”

Survivors were sleeping amid the debris of their splintered homes in Bogalay, where more than 95 percent of the houses were destroyed.

Three Red Cross aid flights loaded with shelter kits and other supplies landed Friday in Myanmar without incident. “We are not experiencing any problems getting in, (unlike) the United Nations,” said Danish Red Cross spokesman Hans Beck Gregersen.

“Many are not buried and lie in the water. They have started rotting and the stench is beyond words,” Anders Ladekarl, head of the Danish Red Cross.

The United Nations has issued a “flash appeal” to its members to raise $187.3 million in cyclone relief for Myanmar. That amount is based on a quick assessment of needs by more than 20 organizations, and it includes $56 million for food, nearly $50 million for logistics and about $20 million for shelter, according to CNN.com.

“If we do not act now, and if we do not act fast, more lives will be lost,” said John Holmes, the undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs.

U.N. officials said the pledges are needed to provide food, water purification tablets, emergency health kits, mosquito nets, cooking sets, plastic sheeting and water jugs for at least 1.5 million people in the next three months.

I have added a badge from Network for Good on the right which will allow people in the US to make a donation to the people of Myanmar. For people in Singapore, you can still follow this link http://www.worldvision.org.sg/st_donation_methods.php to make your contribution. If you know of any other ways where people can contribute, please let me know. Let us all do our part to help the people in Myanmar. Many thanks in advance and wishing everyone a wonderful weekend ahead.

Ways you can help:
1. World Vision (Singapore)
2. Save the Children (Internatinal)
3. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) (International)
4. The Salvation Army (International – Please remember to state where you want your donation to go to)

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8 thoughts on “United for a Good Cause

  1. Elaine

    The fact that we are getting any information out of Burma now (and I use the name of the country still being used by those opposed to the military junta in control) is because of courageous missionaries and journalists. Now Time.com is calling on the UN to invade. Like the government of North Korea and the Taliban, the repression of the Burma government is finally coming to light. I urge those who want to know more to check out the genocide that has been going on against the Christian tribes in Bruma. Today reports say the junta is exporting rice. For their crimes against their own people, those in power must be held accountable.

  2. Symphony of Love Post author

    Hi Elaine, you made some good points there and indeed those in power must be held accountable. When I was reading the news of how Junta had seized the supplies and stopped foreign experts from entering, I was furious!!! I also felt so helpless. How could they do that? However, the pressing issue now is to send in aid to the people affected by the Cyclone Nargis in the shortest possible time. Another day of delay means more death and sufferings to the people affected. The thought of those people suffering from diseases, hunger, cold … especially the young ones and the old ones. How much longer could they hold on?

  3. Symphony of Love Post author

    Hi Amy, have you been able to contact your family so far? I hope that they are alright. You are certainly right – every minute counts. It is a race against time. My only hope is that the Junta would allow more agencies to enter Burma to help out in the situation. I wish that everyone is well.

  4. Sherxr

    Thank Heavens!! They finally approved Singapore aid to go into Myanmar!!! I was so sad yesterday when I found out they refused any further foreign aid!!

    Sherxrs last blog post..Food for Men

  5. Marlene

    You know, it’s really painful to see the children’s bodies floating. I could imagine how helpless they were. Oh, no, I can’t look at the pictures again, it hurts…