Thursday, May 15, 2008

Burmese Cyclone Victims Need Your Help!

May15th, 2008

My fourth day here on the Thai-Burma border sees frustration mounting as still only limited aid from the countries of the world is being allowed to enter into Burma.

This morning, ‘Project Enlighten’, www.projectenlighten.com , has sent $4000US in emergency relief supplies, by truck, into Burma. The Burmese organization on-the-ground, ABITSU, (All Burma IT Student’s Union), has an effective ‘Cyclone Nagris Relief Response Action Plan’ in place which delivers these supplies into Burma by trucks, driven by Burmese citizens, to various relief stations within Burma. These supplies are then loaded onto smaller vehicles and boats and then transported to the delta affected areas.

100% of the money donated to ‘Project Enlighten’s Burma Cyclone Emergency Relief Immediate Action Plan’, goes directly towards purchasing aid supplies here in Mae Sot. For efficiency, drinking water is purchased in distilleries and hospitals within Burma.

As of now, the military government of Burma is allowing foreign aid workers in from five neighboring countries only, but with heavy restrictions. The military is blocking all access to foreign aid workers wanting to enter the delta affected region, where the situation is dire! An unnamed BBC reporter, who has made his way through many of the delta affected areas, has reported horrific conditions for those stranded there. He questions the fact that if he has made his way into these areas; why has the Burmese military not made the effort to go in and provide aid!

Currently, people in the delta region are living among corpses with no aid. A leading UN charity reports that over 40% of those who perished in the cyclone were children. Children did not have the strength to hold on to the trees as the powerful cyclone waves rushed over them. The force of the cyclone tore children out of their mother’s arms.

There are many lone children seen fishing for crabs and shellfish amongst the floating, rotting corpses. There are reported camps with hundreds of orphaned children throughout the region.

Monasteries in Burma have taken in many cyclone victims but the military has given the monks deadlines in which to clear them out. Many monasteries in Rangoon and the affected areas have seen no aid from the government, and they are being closely watched by the military and military intelligence.

The Burmese government has only 5 military helicopters and no heavy-lifting equipment. The US and Britain have warships in place off the Burmese coast, supplied with aid and equipment, ready to assist, but have not yet received permission from the Burmese government.

Today, the UN is holding a meeting regarding the possibility of forced intervention. Britain’s Foreign Minister has quoted that Britain would not rule out forced intervention.

UN top aid to Humanitarian Affairs, John Holmes, will be flying into Burma today with a plane-load of supplies, with the intention to meet with Burma’s top generals.

Meanwhile, Burma’s estimated 2.5 million people affected by the cyclone are only receiving limited aid, and are in danger of a second serious humanitarian crisis – death from starvation and disease.

Medicine, water, food, plastic sheeting, and mosquito nets are just some of the emergency supplies your donations to ‘Project Enlighten’ will buy that go immediately into Burma’s cyclone affected areas.

$2 buys a mosquito net, or a dozen water purification tablets. $10 buys a first-aid kit.

Any amount that you can give now will help those in the desperate delta region of Burma.

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