Friday, 9 May 2008

Cyclone in Burma, a way to help

It is hard to believe that yet another tradegy has hit Burma. The estimated death toll is 100,000 people, although the Burmese government is still saying about 26,500.

Homes on the Irrawaddy delta are mainly built of bamboo, so it is understandable that these have been totally oblitorated. Reports of children wandering the area searching for lost parents are now creeping out of the country. Thousands are dead bodies and livestock are floating in the water.

This area of Burma is one of the main rice growing areas. The people are already struggling to feed themselves, due to the escalating price of rice. This situation can only get worse.

The military junta has turned away a relief flight from Qatar, impounded UN supplies, and will not accept aid workers or search and rescue teams from countless charities around the world. Naval ships from the USA and France are on alert, just a few miles off-shore, yet they are not being allowed to help.

Humanitarian relief is urgently needed, but Burma's government could easily delay, divert or misuse any aid. Yesterday the International Burmese Monks Organization, including many leaders of the democracy protests last fall, launched a new effort to provide relief through Burma's powerful grass roots network of monasteries--the most trusted institutions in the country and currently the only source of housing and support in many devastated communities

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