Thursday, May 8, 2008

How you can help Myanmar

Living in an area where the severest weather is like a mild thunderstorm, sometimes I can't get my head around the fact that natural disasters can be deadly. On May 3rd, Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar (also known as Burma), the geographically largest country in Southeast Asia, and a country with a really rich and tragic history. In the days following, the death toll from Cyclone Nargis has skyrocketed from an initial number of 22,000, to 50,000, to an estimated 100,000 as of today, May 8. In addition, over 95% of the buildings in the delta region struck by the cyclone were destroyed, over one million people are now homeless, and nearly 2,000 square miles of Myanmar is still left underwater.

There are a lot of complications preventing quick aid to Myanmar, in particular the fact that its military junta has yet to approve travel visas to disaster assessment teams and international relief workers for entry into the country. Needless to say, with the death toll rising, the sheer number of displaced people struggling to survive without food and shelter, and the conditions left behind by the cyclone and decomposing bodies, things are looking grim.

I know most of us reading this live far, far away from Myanmar. But the devastation there is too great for us to not do something about it. 100,000. That is a good chunk of the world population that were killed in one day. There are organizations already in Myanmar providing aid as best as they can, and the international community is pledging money and resources (including the US's pledge of $3 mil). While we can't physically be there helping out, we can do our part by donating to the organizations that are doing work in Myanmar and in so many other countries in the world. CNN has put together a really neat page with all the different resources you can peruse and donate to.

Here are the big ones:
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

World Food Programme

Doctors without Borders


Anonymous said...

Tragic, had no idea that the deaths more then tripled since the last time I heard about it.