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[BurmaSolidarity] Aid Groups Say Myanmar Food Stolen by Military

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date: Fri, May 16, 2008 at 3:42 PM
subject: [BurmaSolidarity] Aid Groups Say Myanmar Food Stolen by Military

News Headlines

1. Aid Groups Say Myanmar Food Stolen by Military
2. U.S. pushing hard for copters to ferry Myanmar relief
3. Myanmar asks India to send doctors for cyclone relief
4. Some cholera confirmed in cyclone-hit Myanmar
5. Local store owner worried about family in Myanmar
6. Charities mobilize for China, Myanmar
7. UN humanitarian chief awaits visa for Myanmar mission
8. Myanmar Farmers May Miss Harvest
9. ONE MILLION CHILDREN NEED URGENT AID IN MYANMAR
10. Prayer meet for victims of Jaipur blasts, Myanmar cyclone, Chinese quake
11. Manila priests to hold collection for Myanmar
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Aid Groups Say Myanmar Food Stolen by Military

By THE NEW YORK TIMES
Published: May 15, 2008

YANGON, Myanmar — The directors of several relief organizations in Myanmar said Wednesday that some of the international aid arriving into the country for the victims of Cyclone Nargis was being stolen, diverted or warehoused by the country’s army.


Associated Press

Children on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar, on Wednesday reached for bananas being handed out by a local donor.

The United States military’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center said there was a possibility that “a significant tropical cyclone” — a second big storm — would form within 24 hours and head across the Irrawaddy Delta, the region that suffered most from the first storm, which struck May 3.

Thailand’s prime minister, Samak Sundaravej, flew to Yangon on Wednesday to try to persuade Myanmar’s leaders to allow more foreign aid workers into the country. The members of the military junta told him they were in control of the relief operations and had no need for foreign experts, he told reporters after returning to Bangkok, The Associated Press reported.

The government said there were no outbreaks of disease or starvation among the hundreds of thousands of people affected by the cyclone. In Yangon, Mr. Samak met with the prime minister, Lt. Gen. Thein Sein, The A.P. report said.

The aid directors in Myanmar declined to be quoted directly on their concerns about the stolen supplies for fear of angering the ruling junta and jeopardizing their operations, although Marcel Wagner, country director of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, confirmed that aid was being diverted by the army. He said the issue would become an increasing problem, although he declined to give further details because of the sensitivity of the situation.

International aid shipments continued to arrive Wednesday, including five new air deliveries of relief supplies from the United States. Western diplomats said their representatives at the airport were making sure the cargo was unloaded efficiently and then trucked to staging areas. The fate of the supplies after that, however, remained unknown, because the junta has barred all foreigners, including credentialed diplomats and aid workers, from accompanying any donated aid, tracking its distribution or following up on its delivery.

Myanmar state radio reported Wednesday that the death toll from the May 3 cyclone had risen again, to 38,491, Agence France-Presse reported, with 27,838 people still missing. The toll has been increasing daily as more of the missing are identified as dead. The United Nations has estimated that the toll could be more than 60,000. The International Red Cross estimated Wednesday that the cyclone death toll was between 68,833 and 127,990, according to The A.P.

There were rumors in Myanmar on Wednesday that special high-energy biscuits donated for distribution in the disaster areas had been replaced by cheaper, off-the-shelf crackers. But Mr. Wagner and the others said they had not heard of high-quality foodstuffs being stolen and replaced by inferior products.

Although aid flights are now regularly seen arriving at the Yangon airport, international rescue teams and disaster-relief experts for the most part are being kept away from the country. A small French rescue team has arrived in Yangon, although it was unclear whether it had received official permission. The government said it would allow in 160 relief workers from neighboring countries, including India, China, Bangladesh, and Thailand, The A.P. reported. But diplomats and representatives of aid missions said that visas for overseas experts were still being denied.

The United Nations’ top emergency aid official expressed “huge frustration” Wednesday with the Myanmar government’s barring foreign aid workers from the areas most devastated by last week’s cyclone and urged it to make “a radical change” and reverse its decision. John Holmes, the undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs, said he could report only “small signs of progress.”

The United Nations, he said, had raised its estimate of the number of people “severely affected ” by the cyclone and therefore most in need of emergency aid to between 1.6 million and 2.5 million. The earlier estimates were 1.3 million and 1.9 million, respectively.

Mr. Wagner said he and his agency’s foreign staff members were now barred from the Irrawaddy Delta, even areas where the group has projects from before the storm. Fortunately, he said, he has Burmese staff members who are permitted to pass through an increasing number of military checkpoints.

Reports have been mixed about how much aid was actually getting through to the delta. One longtime relief coordinator in Myanmar said Tuesday that 30 percent of the people in the damaged areas had been reached. But other agencies were encouraged about recent improvements in deliveries, especially groups with projects and local staff already in place, and the agencies with established working relationships with the government.

The World Health Organization said its supplies were arriving in the country normally, without being diverted, siphoned off or replaced with substandard items.

Mr. Wagner said his agency had success in getting its trucks into Labutta, although daily rainstorms were beginning to make road travel more difficult. The monsoon season would make things worse, he said, and he and the World Health Organization experts said they expected to start getting reports from the field soon about malaria, dengue fever and water-borne diseases. Mr. Wagner was careful to point out that these afflictions were not unusual in the delta region, saying, “They happen every year at this time, with or without a cyclone.”

Shari Villarosa, the senior diplomat at the United States Embassy in Yangon, said she was encouraged by the military government’s acceptance of aid. “The Burmese will see they’re going to need help getting this aid out, but they’re going to come around way too slow — and too late for many,” Ms. Villarosa said during an interview in her office.

A number of countries have offered to bring in aid and deliver it from the south, by ship, but the junta has refused. One of the generals’ most enduring fears is a seaborne invasion by Western powers it calls “foreign saboteurs.”

“These guys really believe we are planning an invasion,” Ms. Villarosa said. The United States said this week that several of its military ships were in the area and ready to provide help in Myanmar. “If they hear that a large U.S. ship is off the coast, they don’t receive the message that it’s a genuine humanitarian effort,” she said.

A medical officer from the World Health Organization said Wednesday that the presence of corpses in the region’s waters was not a serious health issue.

“I know this issue of dead bodies is a worldwide concern, but the dead bodies do not represent any specific additional public health risk,” said Pino Annunziata, a medical officer in the organization’s Department of Emergency Response and Operations. “This is a very negligible risk from a public health standpoint. We have to focus on the survivors.”

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U.S. pushing hard for copters to ferry Myanmar relief

Fri May 16, 2008
YANGON,
Myanmar — The door is open. But just a crack.

Myanmar‘s isolationist ruling junta is now allowing U.S. military cargo planes to regularly fly relief supplies into their largest city to provide aid to cyclone survivors.

But if the aid is to get out to the estimated 2 million people who need it most, Myanmar is going to have to make another big concession: letting the U.S. start flying helicopters directly into the hardest-hit areas and allowing boots on the ground.

How are they doing it?
Myanmar, whose ruling military generals are intensely sensitive to what they see as outside meddling, has limited the U.S. military to the Yangon airport, where emergency supplies must be unloaded by hand.

Once the planes are unloaded, they are quickly sent back to their makeshift base in Utapao, central Thailand.

The U.S. military has flown 13 C-130 cargo planes loaded with 156.6 tons of aid into Yangon over the past four days. Five flights flew on Thursday, military officials said, and another eight were expected to take off today.

The C-130s have brought in much-needed supplies including water, mosquito nets, blankets, plastic sheets and hygiene kits. But aid groups say the airport soon will have more supplies than it will be able to handle, meaning bottlenecks and delays.

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Myanmar asks India to send doctors for cyclone relief

Web posted at: 5/16/2008 8:37:52
Source ::: AFP

new delhi • Cyclone-hit Myanmar has asked neighbour India to send its army medical teams to assist relief operations in the junta-ruled country, an official said yesterday.

An Indian Air Force transport aircraft is set to fly to Yangon on Saturday carrying a team of doctors and medical supplies, said the official who did not want to be identified.

Since Cyclone Nargis struck the southwest delta region on May 2 and 3, leaving up to 66,000 dead or missing, Myanmar’s reclusive military rulers have accepted foreign aid but largely rejected international relief workers.

Foreign aid agencies say they are battling to provide vital food, shelter and water through the country’s dilapidated infrastructure, but the junta has refused to budge on access, despite mounting international pressure. So far, two Indian navy ships and five aircraft have delivered food, clothing, medicines and tents to Myanmar.

New Delhi has forged a close relationship with Myanmar’s junta in recent years to tackle insurgent groups along their border. On why the Myanmar regime opted for Indian army medical teams, the Indian official said, “the response of the Indian army to disasters is time-tested and found to be very reliable, very dependable.”

AFP

Delhi offers

$5m in quake relief to China

new delhi • India said yesterday it had offered to send $5m in emergency supplies to quake-hit China, where the official death toll from this week’s devastating earthquake neared 20,000. “Keeping in view India’s close and good neighbourly ties with China, the government of India has decided to offer assistance of five million dollars,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“This amount would be utilised for relief material including blankets, tents, sleeping bags, medicines,” it said. India’s offer came as China accepted a Japanese rescue team with sniffer dogs to locate survivors.

http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/Display_news.asp?section=World_News&subsection=India&month=May2008&file=World_News2008051683752.xml

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Some cholera confirmed in cyclone-hit Myanmar

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Some cholera has been confirmed among survivors of Cyclone Nargis, but the number was in line with case levels in previous years in Myanmar, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.Click Here

“We do have some confirmed cholera,” Maureen Birmingham, acting WHO representative in Thailand, said of the hardest-hit Irrawaddy delta where cholera is endemic.

“We don’t have an explosion of cholera. Thus far the rate of cholera is no greater than the background rate that we would be seeing in Myanmar during this season,” she told reporters.

(Reporting by Ed Cropley; Writing by Darren Schuettler; Editing by Jerry Norton)

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Local store owner worried about family in Myanmar

Web Posted: 05/16/2008 12:02 AM CDT

Amanda Stanzilis
KENS 5 Eyewitness News
They are numbers that are hard for some of us to imagine.

The Red Cross estimates up to 128,000 people could be dead in Myanmar following the killer cyclone. A San Antonio man fears his family members could be, too.

For Frank Lin, the past two weeks have been tough.

Lin is the owner of a postal store on the Northeast Side. He smiles for his customers, but his mind and his heart are half a world away.

He has been in San Antonio for three years, but Lin was born and raised in Myanmar, a country he still calls Burma. It’s a country he doesn’t recognize after the cyclone hit on May 3.

The Red Cross estimates 27,000 people are still missing, and Lin is scared.

“I try to reach my family over there, but all the land line phones are down,” he said.

To make it worse, reports say Myanmar’s strict military government won’t allow foreign aid workers in and won’t properly distribute the international supplies going in.



“They keep all the best, and then very few items go to the victims,” Lin said.

Lin has cut out every picture he has found of his ravaged homeland. Right now, it’s his only connection. Still, he says it’s hard to look.

He is desperate to save money, to collect items, anything to help his country and reach his family, despite the government possibly interfering.

“Even if they do that, we can’t stop, we have to help because we know all the people are suffering,” Lin said.

Several global charities are reporting if Myanmar doesn’t allow foreign aid soon, the death toll could double.

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Charities mobilize for China, Myanmar

Red Cross, MCC steer local efforts
Intelligencer Journal
Published: May 16, 2008
01:11 EST
By LORI VAN INGEN, Staff

Local charities are partnering with organizations in Myanmar and China to help the victims of the recent natural disasters there.

“We’re lucky that we already have established a conduit support that is already on the ground (in Myanmar, also known as Burma), where political restraints hamper other relief organizations,” Kathy Smyser, public relations officer for American Red Cross of the Susquehanna Valley, said.

The American Red Cross works through the International Red Cross to coordinate with the Myanmar Red Cross, she said.

Smyser said they are not able to solve all of the issues of getting aid to the people in cyclone-ravaged Myanmar who need it, but they are helping.

China faces a similar situation after its massive earthquake Monday, Smyser said, only there is no government roadblock. The China Red Cross already has made an official request for help so it receives aid as it learns what its needs are, she said.

“The Chinese Red Cross is very well-equipped to meet the disaster until this point,” she said. “But this is quite a magnitude of disaster and will need assistance.”

Smyser said people who wish to donate may designate that their funds go to Myanmar or China, but the Red Cross does not encourage such designations. Rather, it requests donations be made to its International Response Fund so funds can be used as needed, “especially with the uncertainty of the Myanmar government.”

Smyser said the Red Cross believes it has raised enough funds to help with the recent tornadoes in the southern United States.

“We have quite a few volunteers on the scene. But with the tornado season here, there likely will be more, so we’re on alert,” she said.

Two local Red Cross volunteers also have gone to Maine to help with flooding victims there, she said.

Donations by check can be sent to American Red Cross, P.O. Box 4624, Lancaster, PA 17604. People who wish to donate by credit card should call 299-5561 or go to www.sqvalleyredcross.org.

Mennonite Central Committee’s associate director for its Asia program, Tom Wenger, said he visited Myanmar last month.

“It’s a beautiful country,” Wenger said. “The people are gracious and lovely. They are a diverse group, with several ethnic groups, who are deeply committed to build the nation to make it a better place.”

But the cyclone has “made a bad situation worse,” he said.

The cyclone struck the “most vulnerable part of the country,” its low river delta land, and swept inland, killing more than 43,000 people, according to local government estimates, and devastating the area where 60 percent of its rice is grown, Wenger said.


Had the cyclone made landfall at a different angle, from the north or the south, it would have hit hills or islands instead, minimizing its effects, he said.

Now meeting basic needs is troublesome because communication is difficult — phone lines are down, the Internet is limited and electricity is usually off, Wenger said.

“We’ve worked hard to set up relief camps, health and medical teams and distributing water and shelter supplies,” he said.

MCC has launched an appeal seeking $200,000 to support critical needs in Myanmar, particularly clean water and shelter. Half of these funds have already been allocated to specific efforts:

$35,000 to Metta, a relief and development organization based in Myanmar, which is providing rice, medicine and other items to more than 68,000 people.

$30,000 to Hope International, which is distributing emergency supplies and providing medical treatment to cyclone survivors through mobile health teams. As of Monday, its medical teams had treated 2,000 people.

$20,000 to Church World Service to help provide water containers and water-purification equipment in 1,000 locations. Thirteen villages had been reached by Monday.

$15,000 to IDE-Myanmar, a partner organization that is distributing water containers, water pumps and plastic sheeting. MCC also is applying for funds from Canadian Foodgrains Bank to help IDE-Myanmar restore water systems that were damaged or destroyed by the cyclone.

MCC also is monitoring and assessing needs in China and has committed $20,000 for relief there, Wenger said.

Contributions designated China Emergency Assistance or Myanmar Emergency Assistance can be made by going to www.mcc.org/donate or stopping by MCC’s East Coast office, 21 S. 12th St., Akron.

The best way to help others in the event of crises like the Myanmar cyclone and the China earthquake is to “go with organizations you have dealt with in the past and ones you trust,” Smyser said.

Smyser said Pennsylvania has a Web site, www.dos.state.pa.us/char/site/default.asp, that lists registered charities.

Another Web site, www.charitynavigator.org, ranks charities, giving its version of a “Good Housekeeping seal of approval,” Smyser said. It also lists known charities helping in certain disasters.

If you are solicited by a charity, Smyser said, “It is perfectly all right to ask for their credentials and phone number and call them back” to make certain it is a legitimate phone number and charity.

The American Red Cross does not solicit, but Smyser said she expects that could change at some point because of the severity of the two recent disasters and their as-yet unknown human toll. “If there has been more affected than has been reported,” she said, “the need will go up.”

Tips for giving in times of crisis, according to the Charity Navigator, include:

Give to an established charity and avoid unproven charities created specifically to deal with new crises. If you feel compelled to give to a new charity, be sure to get proof the group is a registered public charity with 501(c)(3) status.

Designate your gift. That way, you’ll ensure your donation is used as you intend.

Avoid telemarketers. Be wary of fundraisers who pressure you to make a contribution over the phone, and never divulge your credit card information to someone who does.

Research and follow up. Take the time to find a charity you can trust and be sure to check back in a few months to find out how your donation was put to use and if the organization needs additional support to complete its mission.

Give online. The inherent speed of online giving provides instant gratification to donors and offers charities immediate access to much-needed funds.

E-mail: lvaningen@lnpnews.com

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UN humanitarian chief awaits visa for Myanmar mission

05-15-2008, 09h01
UNITED NATIONS (AFP)
photo

Cyclone Nargis survivors in the Dagon township on the outskirts of Yangon. UN humanitarian chief John Holmes plans to travel to cyclone-hit Myanmar in the next days to persuade its military rulers to open up to foreign aid, the United Nations said Thursday.
(AFP)

UN humanitarian chief John Holmes awaited a visa to travel to Myanmar where he hopes to press the junta to allow in foreign aid to help survivors of the deadly cyclone, the UN said.

As state media raised the death toll to 43,318, with nearly 28,000 still missing and another two million in dire need of help, Myanmar’s southeast Asian neighbors geared up for talks aimed at convening a high-level donors meeting.

UN spokeswoman Michele Montas said Holmes, who heads the body’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, had requested a visa “and we expect he will get it,” adding he should be traveling “in the next five to six days.”

The United Nations has warned that, almost two weeks after Cyclone Nargis ripped through Myanmar, many more people may die unless they receive help.

But the country’s ruling generals have dug in their heels, and again rebuffed calls to allow in the foreign relief workers needed to quickly deliver food, water, shelter and medicine.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown warned in London: “We will stop at nothing in trying to pressure the regime into doing what any regime should have done long ago.

“And there should be nothing, nothing that stops that aid getting to the people of the country now.”

UN officials are waiting for the emergency ministerial meeting scheduled by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for Monday in Singapore to work out details of a broader aid donors conference on Myanmar.

The ASEAN countries “are going to be discussing where that pledging conference can take place and who can participate,” Montas said.

A UN source said the meeting would probably be at ministerial level, and would likely take place in southeast Asia, probably Bangkok, with May 24 suggested as a possible date.

Cyclone Nargis hit overnight May 2, tearing through the rice-growing Irrawaddy Delta and wiping out entire villages with powerful winds and giant waves that turned much of the area into a disease-infested swamp.

At first, journalists returned from the area with tales of misery — corpses rotting in the water as untold thousands of survivors lined the streets begging for food.

Now the junta has sealed off the region to reporters and insists the impoverished country, once a rich British colony known as Burma, can stand on its own.

The government-controlled New Light of Myanmar newspaper said the country’s people could rebuild the devastated region without help.

“They will not rely too much on international assistance and will reconstruct the nation on (a) self-reliance basis,” it said.

International leaders have lambasted Myanmar’s government for not opening their doors to aid groups.

“We are way behind the curve compared to any other international disaster in recent memory,” said Mark Malloch-Brown, a top British diplomat, in Bangkok.

“I cannot recall a relief operation where, at least the international response, has been subjected to such delays.”

Despite the massive humanitarian emergency, the military regime Thursday announced victory in a national referendum on a new constitution with 92.4 percent of the ballots.

It said the turnout in the vote, held last Saturday with parts of the country still underwater and tens of thousands of people unaccounted for, was 99 percent. Affected areas go to the polls later this month.

The regime said the vote, the first here since 1990, was a step on the road to democracy, but critics say it will only tighten the military’s grip on power.

Meanwhile the government is pushing survivors out of monasteries where they fled after the storm — perhaps wary of the role Buddhist monks played in last year’s abortive anti-government uprising.

Monks and evacuees from the main city Yangon as well as Labutta, one of the hardest-hit delta towns, said thousands of people were being forced out of monasteries.

New rains have added to the misery for increasingly desperate people at risk of everything from snakebites and pneumonia to outright starvation.

“Half the people displaced aren’t in actual buildings,” said Kathryn Rawe, spokeswoman for Save the Children, an aid group. “They’re basically under plastic, and it’s raining. It breaks your heart.”

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Myanmar Farmers May Miss Harvest


European Pressphoto Agency

Flooded fields, lost seeds and drowned water buffaloes are dire impediments to Burmese farmers who would normally be planting rice this time of year.

By THE NEW YORK TIMES
Published: May 16, 2008

YANGON, Myanmar — Normally, at this time of year, Burmese farmers in the southern delta of Myanmar would be draining their rice paddies, plowing their fields with their water buffaloes and preparing to plant new seeds for an autumn harvest.


Associated Press

A boy shielded himself with a leaf during a heavy rain storm on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar, on Thursday.

Enlarge This Image

Rapport, for The New York Times

U Thaw dar Kyaw was making do Thursday in his home’s ruins in South Dagon Township.

But two weeks ago, Cyclone Nargis did away with all that. The storm’s timing could not have been worse. Tens of thousands of farm families lost their draft animals, their rice stocks and their planting seeds. Now the harvest is in doubt as well.

“I think we’re going to miss it, we’re going to miss the harvest,” said Hakan Tongul, deputy country director for the World Food Program in Myanmar. “Time is short.”

Mr. Tongul and other international aid experts with long experience in Myanmar fear that the cyclone has disrupted the seasonal cycle of life in the Irrawaddy Delta, once one of the world’s most fertile and important rice-growing regions.

Delta farmers lost 149,000 water buffaloes, said Brian Agland, the country director for CARE, and it will be impossible to replace them in time for the plowing season. Instead, CARE and other aid groups will most likely be buying what the locals call “iron buffaloes” — small red tractors made in China that go for about $1,000 apiece.

Huge deliveries of new rice seeds are needed, too. Thailand is the likely source for the seeds, Mr. Tongul said. Traditionally, delta farmers have used seeds from rice grown the year before.

New livestock — pigs, ducks, chickens and fish fingerlings in addition to buffaloes — and seeds are among the priority items for aid groups working in rural development in the delta.

“The agricultural cycle is so critical,” Mr. Agland said Thursday. “We’ve got to avoid a hunger gap, and we’ve got very little time.”

Aid officials continued to express concern about the government’s reluctance to let in assistance. “They’re restricting, they’re hiding, they’re not allowing us to import, almost nothing,” Mr. Tongul said. “I need 50,000 tons of rice to feed people for the next six months. I’ve got 3,000 on hand. This is what keeps me awake at night.”

On Thursday, the government’s count of the dead rose nearly 5,000, to more than 43,000, with 27,838 missing, The Associated Press reported. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has estimated the death toll at 68,833 to 127,990, The A.P. said.

United Nations agencies and other international relief groups held an emergency, closed meeting on Thursday afternoon to plot strategies for getting the delta farmers back to their farms and back to work.

Many families have sought shelter in Buddhist monasteries, old buildings or schools, and the government has been trucking the displaced people to military-run refugee settlements far from their farms.

But the aid agencies say the farmers need to get back to whatever is left of their farms in order to rebuild houses — even rudimentary ones — drain waterlogged paddies and get on with plowing and planting.

Unless they can do that work, the aid groups say, the country will need another 50,000 tons of rice six months from now, Mr. Tongul said.

The Yangon River, which was blocked by sunken ships and storm debris, reopened Thursday afternoon, an encouraging development for relief officials. It means that larger shipments — especially of rice — can now be delivered by boat into the port at Yangon if the government loosens its restrictions on imports.

The World Food Program delivered thousands of high-energy biscuits to the south, but the agency has heard that some have been stolen or replaced with cheap crackers, Mr. Tongul said. He said the United Nations had begun an investigation.

On Thursday, The A.P. reported, Myanmar’s junta warned in a state radio address that legal action would be taken against people who traded, hoarded or misused international aid intended for cyclone survivors.

The junta also announced the approval of a new Constitution in a referendum it pressed ahead with just a week after the cyclone, though it delayed voting in the hardest-hit areas. The Constitution, intended to perpetuate military rule, passed with more than 90 percent of the vote on May 10, the authorities said, according to The A.P.

The coastal area and Yangon are to vote on May 24, but analysts said the yes vote had already surpassed the level necessary for final approval.

Heavy rains continued to drench Yangon and the delta on Thursday, further complicating deliveries of supplies as bridges and roads washed out. Trucks have so far been used to get most of the aid from the Yangon region to the delta, and groups like Save the Children, World Vision and CARE have had some success in delivering food to the south.

But many townships and villages deep in the delta are still largely out of contact, and it is likely that the death toll will jump once counts in those areas can be taken, regional experts say.

“We’ve been using small boats and motorbikes to get to places,” Mr. Agland said, “and we’re finding villages where 200 people used to live, and now there’s 5 or 10.”

Still, amid the uncertainty over casualty numbers, Mr. Agland cautioned that just because people were reported missing did not necessarily mean they were dead. “For example, there have been a lot of lost kids reported, but we’re also finding groups of kids on their own” in rural, storm-damaged areas, he said.

“The death toll is quite high, and I don’t know if we’ll ever find out the real number. The focus now is stopping more deaths.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/16/world/asia/16myanmar.html

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ONE MILLION CHILDREN NEED URGENT AID IN MYANMAR

Bernama

By D. Arul Rajoo Bernama – 1 hour 36 minutes ago

BANGKOK, May 16 (Bernama) — As many as one million children are in need of urgent aid in cyclone-hit areas in Myanmar, the United Nations Children’s Fund warned today. In its latest update on the situation, the agency said teams on the ground reported that in the areas they have visited, about 40 per cent of the severely affected were children. There are more than 70 Unicef assessment and relief missions in the areas, distributing essential survival kits, including plastic sheeting for shelter, water purification materials, medicines and mosquito nets and cooking materials, it said. The Myanmar Government said yesterday the official death toll had soared to 43,318 while international aid agencies and the United Nations estimated casualties between 68,000 to 100,000 while the number of severely affected people could reach 2.5 million. Unicef said a flight is due to land today, its fourth after the tragedy two

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weeks ago, carrying several tonnes of therapeutic food for malnourished children. — MORE AR AR TOM

MYANMAR-CHILDREN 2 (LAST) BANGKOK

So far, 34 trucks, small enough to travel safely over the damaged roads and

bridges, have been dispatched throughout the Yangon and Irawaddy districts, it

said.

The UN agency, which deals mainly with children, has also arranged radio

broadcasts to help reunite separated children with their parents or close

family members while child-friendly spaces have been set up in several

locations, where children can receive education, psychosocial support and

health/nutrition services.

— BERNAMA

AR

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Prayer meet for victims of Jaipur blasts, Myanmar cyclone, Chinese quake

May 16th, 2008 – 12:09 pm ICT by admin – Email This Post Email This Post

New Delhi, May 16 (ANI): People of all religious groups organised a prayer meet, seeking solace for the victims who died in Myanmar cyclone, in Chinese earthquake and in Jaipur serial blasts.
The prayer meet in honour of the victims was organised by the Delhi Catholic Archdiocese and members of all religious faiths on Thursday.
“Many lives were lost in all these tragedies. We decided to hold an all religion prayer in memory of our brothers and sisters who were children of the same almighty,” said Dominic Emmanuel, a spokesman of the Delhi Catholic Archdiocese.
About 2.5 million people have been “severely affected” by cyclone Nargis that hit Myanmar on May 8 and the official death toll from Monday’s 7.9-magnitude earthquake that struck China has reached 20,000. But the state media reported that it could soar to more than 50,000, as hope faded for the thousands still buried under the rubble across the region.
The religious members were, however, deeply perturbed over the terror attacks in Jaipur.
“The incident in Jaipur is different from what occurred in China and Myanmar. China and Myanmar suffered from natural calamities, but in Jaipur it was a pre-planned heinous act where so many innocent people died and hundreds were injured,” said Swami Agnivesh, a social activist.
“I hope that the Almighty provides some sense to those who resort to such dastardly acts,” he added.
The serial blasts in Jaipur on May 13 killed around 61 people and injured more than 150 persons. (ANI)

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Manila priests to hold collection for Myanmar (11:15 a.m.)
MANILA — The Archdiocese of Manila instructed all its parish priests to conduct a special collection in all their Masses on May 25. The proceeds will be given to the victims of cyclone that devastated Myanmar two weeks ago.

Chancellor Monsignor Roberto Canlas of the Archdiocese of Manila issued the directed to hold a second collection during the Sunday mass.

“We request that a second collection be made at all Masses in the parishes, shrines and the communities in the Archdiocese of Manila this coming Sunday, May 25, 2008, for the victims of the devastating cyclone as we are aware of the tragic event that happened to our brothers and sisters in Myanmar,” he said.

The collections will be remitted to the Treasury Department so that Manila Archdiocese can send them to the proper authorities in Myanmar.

At the same time, he urged the faithful to continue to pray for the people of Myanmar.

Meanwhile, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo asked the Filipinos to help and be more generous to the cyclone victims.

“I appeal to the faithful to help. Let us do whatever we can to help like give in the collection,” he said.

However, the Bishop said it will be better if the people will give cash donations as it will be used in purchasing the things that the people need in the said country.

On May 2, Myanmar formerly Burma was hit by a cyclone with over 100,000 people perished and missing. (FP/Sunnex)

http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/net/2008/05/16/manila.priests.to.hold.collection.for.myanmar.(11.15.a.m.).html

==========================================

Mr. Salong

Coordinator
News Desk
Shwe Gas Movement- India

Ph: +91-9899138581
Email: shweinfo@gmail.com
simtui@gmail.com
www.shwe.org


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