Ruth Corlett (Partners) wrote:
Here’s the latest we heard today from one of our colleagues working in Rangoon:
- Foreign aid workers found helping people in public are being detained and their organisations threatened with being shut down.
- Foreign aid workers are not allowed to meet planes arriving with aid supplies, instead the Burmese Army are unloading the supplies and taking it off to unknown destinations (some say to sell for profit)
- The US has apparently threatened to airdrop aid (without waiting for official permission) into affected areas. Burma Army has said they will shoot at planes flying illegally
- There are already reports of scattered civil unrest and looting in downtown Yangon.
- We have heard that the main sea port is inaccessible due to the fact that over 20 large ships sank in the channel. This is problematic because this is the primary conduit for fuel. There is concern among relief agencies that fuel and food shortages are real possibilities. However, the general population seems unaware of this potentially grave issue.
- If food scarcity and shortage does occur, there is a real
possibility of wide-spread civil unrest. The US embassy is recommending that all non-essential personnel evacuate the country immediately because of this concern.
- The general population is very angry towards the government and it’s anemic response to the disaster.
As we bring relief assets to the orphanages and churches with whom we partner, we will not only be helping them but also providing them with the necessary resources to help their immediate communities.
May the Power of Good win over the Power of Evil… and soon.
In the circumstances, it seems that aid that reaches Burma by the back door is safer and more effective than aid through normal official channels. From all the evidence it is urgent that aid arrives quickly.
Here’s what Ruth reports that Partners have already been doing:
- Thursday night we sent a truck to Rangoon with 500 boxes of Vitameal (high protein meals) and 100 rolls of plastic sheeting (for shelter)
- Right now, shipping items in by land is the only way we can get relief supplies to those who need them.
- Sent $5,000 and a Satellite phone to Rangoon via a trusted courier on Thursday to an American Dr we are connected with who is able to get help to those who need it, and will be meeting with him in Chiang Mai on Sunday to find out exactly what is needed and how we can respond further.
- Today (Friday) and over the weekend we will be meeting with Karen pastors to assist us in the distribution of resources inside Burma. In the delta region hit worst, half of those effected are Karen, and the church there is very strong so we are keen to provide the resources to the local church leaders to help their own people.
- Also, today we will be meeting with individuals that can assist us with securing rice to send into affected areas as well.
Pray with us that the help and resources these suffering people need will get through…..past the heartless ones in power.
In the circumstances it sounds as if the best thing to do with money raised on Sunday 18th is to send it to cyclone relief via Partners, rather than to try to help the IDP school. We will get books to the school later. So, if you are thinking of inviting friends to the party – and do invite people, they do not need to know me to come to the party! – tell them the money raised will go to cyclone relief, and that it will actually get to the people who need it, rather than getting ripped off like the official aid that goes through Rangoon. (The NZ Herald and other news agencies are reporting that aid was being unloaded by soldiers and transported to unknown destinations, perhaps to be sold by army officers.)
Photos from TZA on Flickr