BANGKOK: Since Cyclone Nargis devastated the Irrawaddy delta region in Myanmar on May 2, the world has stood by waiting to help those still suffering while the ruling military junta lets in only a trickle of relief supplies and workers.
A Thailand-based Rotarian, whose name has been withheld at his request, describes the situation on the ground in Myanmar, and what can be done to get relief to those who need it most.
Below is an excerpt from his letter of May 30. For his full account of the situation, see the First Person column in this Saturday’s issue of the Phuket Gazette (June 7-13) .
Letter from Myanmar
The past six days in Yangon have been surreal, in juxtaposing what you read in the Western press with what in reality transpires here.
Hopes soared here on Friday, May 23, following UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s meeting with Senior General Than Shwe, when Mr Ban reported to the global press that all foreign-aid materials and crisis experts from all nations would be admitted directly to the cyclone zone without restrictions.
Since that announcement, morale among those non-national institutions has plummeted as their leaders and staff absorb the realization that the promises to Ban Ki-Moon seem largely illusory and nothing has, or probably will, change in allowing in expert foreign help on anything like the scale so urgently needed.
For Burma, the cyclone disaster was far deadlier than the 2004 tsunami. The government’s own statistics acknowledge 80,000 known cyclone deaths plus 60,000 missing. Each day without massive multi-government and agency deployment of landing watercraft with helicopters means, at least, hundreds of more people, including many children, are dying; unconscionably; unnecessarily.
Were I not on the ground here since May 12, and well-connected to key persons in the special aid community, I would not believe any of this, and I don’t blame you if you don’t.
But there is a way to help these suffering people. Please review the absolutely trustworthy and effective avenues I’ve listed (see below) to get financial and other aid to these private and effective aid servants now, today.
Each day gained saves lives. All money – 100% – goes directly, undiluted, to benefit those in direst need.
I wish I were making all this up, but frankly, I wouldn’t be capable. My best to you all.
WHERE YOU CAN HELP
Rotary Myanmar Project, c/o Maesai Rotary Club Separate Account, Bangkok Bank, Maesai branch. Account No: 398-0384253. Swift code: BKKBTHBK. US and Thai-based Rotarians will jointly allocate all disbursements.
Asia Heartbeat, PO Box 63720, Colorado Springs, CO 80962-3720. Tel: (719) 332-8172. To Wells Fargo Bank, Account No: 6225216172. Swift code: WFBIUS6S.
Roman Catholic Missions to Myanmar, through Father Emile Louis-Tisserand. Email: email@example.com Tel: (852) 2849-8187 or 2849-8186 (both Hong Kong numbers).
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