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’, , 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.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Cyclone Emergency Relief for Burmese

The Devastation in Burma

PROJECT ENLIGHTEN has donated $4000US towards Emergency Relief supplies destined for the Cyclone Devastated Region tomorrow. Please donate so we can send more!
May 13, 2008
I arrived in Mae Sot Thailand, 6km, from the Thai-Burma border two nights ago. There was heightened security at highway checkpoints and at town perimeters. The catastrophe that occurred in Burma, one of the poorest countries in the world, is now designated as the world’s most devastating natural disaster in 50 years.

As of yesterday, the UN reports that 150,000 are feared dead, 2,000,000 are in serious need of aid, and 1,500,000 are in serious danger of disease. 24,000,000 people live in the cyclone affected areas. There are 220,000 people reported missing.

The United Nations has also dire concerns over the environmental damage, and has warned of violence and mass immigration due the present military government’s neglect to allow only a minute amount of relief supplies into the country. These supplies are not reaching the affected areas. Tons of supplies that have made it into Burma are sitting impounded at Rangoon airport, including a plane-load sent by the Red Cross. Yesterday, a ship-load of supplies sent by the Red Cross sank off the delta coast. Regional commanders inside Burma have put their names on the sides of boxes of supplies sent in, saying it was a
gift from them, and then distributing it to the people in their region, not the regions of the most dire need.

The BBC has now reported that the city of Rangoon has run out of rice.

Foreign aid workers and emergency supplies have sat for days 6km away from me, ready to go into Burma.

I am here representing, and reporting, to our TEAM and Board at Project Enlighten: . As you know, this past winter I worked closely in a volunteer capacity with several Burmese organizations on the Thai-Burma border. They have networks that constantly are sending supplies from Thailand into areas of need in Burma. These organizations are now successfully taking emergency supplies from Thailand into Burma. Right now they are struggling for funding to keep those truckloads going in. They have transports that leave Mae Sot and go to four relief stations set up inside Burma. From those relief stations, smaller trucks are taking the supplies into the affected areas. They are the ones who can bypass the military and get that aid to the affected areas, because they are registered Burmese citizens.

Yesterday, I spent much of the day in meetings with ABITSU . Their ‘Cyclone Nargis Relief Response’ is a workable solution. They need western organizations that are willing to take on individual donations and foundation grants. ‘Project Enlighten’ is willing to channel donations from our Cyclone Emergency Relief Fund towards their relief efforts into Burma. Donations made to this fund will be issued a receipt for income tax purposes in the States. 100% of these donations go towards relief supplies going into Burma. Neither Project Enlighten, nor ABITSU, utilizes any of this money towards administrative costs.

One transport load of medicine, food, water, and supplies costs $12,000, and can get into Burma in a day, bringing aid to 50 families, or more, approximately 250 people. A smaller truck of supplies can be sent in for $4,000US. A breakdown of all the items and costs pertaining to one transport load are provided. ABITSU will provide written reports, receipts and photo documentation to ‘Project Enlighten’, which will be made available to our donors.

Any donation given to Project Enlighten at this time will go towards immediate aid that can reach the cyclone afflicted Burmese within days through Burmese run organizations such as ABITSU. I am working closely with my friends at ABITSU, who themselves have lost many family members in the cyclone disaster.

I ask that you would please consider any donation at this time of urgency, and that you please pass along this information and to your friends and family. Donations can be made online through Project Enlighten using Credit Card or PayPal. Project Enlighten is a registered 501 (c) (3), Non Government, Non-Profit Organization, in the United States of America. The latest photos on the blog show donations received today at ABITSU by Rescue Task Force in California and World Emergency Relief. All emergency supplies are presently being itemized, and receipt provided by ABITSU. These supplies will be heading into Burma tomorrow. Your donation will also be used to provide much needed supplies that can reach affected areas quickly.

I also include some photos of the devastation inside Burma.

I am stationed in Mae Sot and can be reached by cell phone anytime at 66 087-5736-189
Please make checks payable to 'Project Enlighten' and mail to:
Project Enlighten
Burma Relief Fund
1299 C South Main Street #168
Yreka, California 96097

Project Enlighten
Burma Relief Fund
Box 53,Gravenhurst, ONP1P 1T5

To designate funds specifically to the P.E. Burma Relief Fund, please include this on the memo line on your check or advise us through a note or email.
Your urgent donation is desperately

With deepest respect,

Lisa McCoy