Monday, May 12, 2008

[BurmaSolidarity] S’pore may host ASEAN meeting on Myanmar aid

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News Headlines

1. S'pore may host ASEAN meeting on Myanmar aid

2. Boat carrying aid for Myanmar cyclone victims sinks

3. US to begin airlift of relief goods to Myanmar

4. Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association Delivers Aid to Cyclone Survivors in Myanmar

5.Chinese community in Myanmar actively takes part in cyclone relief work

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S'pore may host ASEAN meeting on Myanmar aid
(Reuters)

12 May 2008

SINGAPORE - Foreign ministers of Southeast Asian countries could meet in Singapore soon to discuss measures to boost relief and recovery efforts in cyclone-hit Myanmar, the Straits Times reported on Monday.

Myanmar has agreed to Singapore's offer to host the meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the city-state and its foreign minister is expected to attend, the Singapore-based newspaper said in a report without identifying its source.

The reported meeting comes after Singapore's Foreign Minister George Yeo wrote to his Myanmar counterpart Nyan Win last Friday, a Foreign Ministry statement said.

As many as 100,000 people are feared to have died in the cyclone that hit Myanmar eight days ago. The U.N. humanitarian agency said in a new assessment that between 1.2 million and 1.9 million people were struggling to survive in the aftermath of the storm.


Boat carrying aid for Myanmar cyclone victims sinks

Monday, May 12, 2008

Myanmar's monumental task of feeding and sheltering 1.5 million cyclone survivors suffered yet another blow Sunday when a boat laden with relief supplies _ one of the first international shipments _ sank on its way to the disaster zone.

The death toll jumped to more than 28,000 and British Foreign Secretary David Miliband warned that "malign neglect" by the isolated nation's military rulers was creating a "humanitarian catastrophe of genuinely epic proportions."



A Myanmar activist protests outside the Myanmar embassy in Bangkok September 27, 2007. About 50 activists from Myanmar held a protest calling for a stop to violence against peaceful demonstrators in Myanmar. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom (THAILAND)

The junta has been sharply criticized for its handling of the May 3 disaster, from failing to provide adequate warnings about the pending storm to responding slowly to offers of help.

Though international assistance has started trickling in, the few foreign relief workers who have been allowed entry into Myanmar have been restricted to the largest city of Yangon. Only a handful have succeeded in getting past checkpoints into the worst-affected areas.

But in what was seen as a huge concession by the junta, the United States finally got the go-ahead to send a C-130 cargo plane packed with supplies to Yangon on Monday, with two more air shipments scheduled to land Tuesday.

At the Thai air force base in Utapao, the C-130 was loaded with 28,000 pounds of supplies, including mosquito nets, blankets and water. Lt. Col. Douglas Powell, U.S. Marines spokesman for the operation, said the plane was carrying U.S. government, not military, supplies and was unarmed.

Myanmar's military rulers are deeply suspicious of Washington, which has long been one of the junta's biggest critics, pointing to human rights abuses and its failure to hand over power to a democratically elected government.

"We hope that this is the beginning of a long line of assistance from the United States," White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe told reporters in Crawford, Texas over the weekend. "They're going to need our help for a long time."

Highlighting the many challenges ahead, however, a Red Cross boat carrying rice, drinking water and other goods for more than 1,000 people sank Sunday near hard-hit Bogalay town. All four aid workers on board were safe.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies could not say how much of the cargo has been lost, but it said the food supplies were contaminated by river water.

"Apart from the delay in getting aid to people we may now have to re-evaluate how we transport that aid," said Michael Annear, the IFRC's disaster manager in Yangon, who described the sinking as "a big blow."

Other aid was increasingly getting through, the group said, but on "nowhere near the scale required."

Heavy showers were forecast for the coming week, further complicating delivery of aid that is still barely reaching victims in the Irrawaddy delta, which was pounded by 120 mph winds and 12-foot-high storm surges from the sea.

In hard hit Laputta, hundreds of survivors crowded the floor of a monastery's open-air hall, the sound of hungry children wailing. Many people tried to sleep sitting up because of lack of space.

Pain Na Kon, a tiny nearby village of just 300, was completely obliterated. The only 12 known survivors huddled together in a tent set up in a rice field, sharing a small portion of biscuits and watery soup handed out at a local monastery.

"We don't know when they will also run out of food," said U Nyo, casting glances at his 6-year-old niece, Mien Mien, who lost both her parents in the cyclone and sat outside in the dark.

U Nyo called out to her gently, but Mien Mien stared emptily into the darkness. Overcome with emotion, U Nyo walked, teary-eyed, over to the girl and sat beside her in silence.

His wife, Saw San Myant, described in a hushed voice what had happened to Mien Mien's father.

"We hung together on a coconut tree as the tide continued to rise. Her father was separated. He tried to hang onto a pole of the hut but that was broken. The wind was too strong. She saw her father swept away by the water but we didn't see anyone else. We think they are all dead," she said.

On Sunday, Myanmar's state television said the death toll from Cyclone Nargis had gone up by about 5,000 to 28,458 _ with another 33,416 missing _ though some experts said it could be 15 times that if people do not get clean water and sanitation soon. The U.N. said about 2 million people were severely affected by the storm.

"A natural disaster is turning into a humanitarian catastrophe of genuinely epic proportions in significant part because of the malign neglect of the regime," said British Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

"I would be amazed if there hadn't been about 100,000 who had died already ... what's more, hundreds of thousands more are at risk," he told British Broadcasting Corp. television.

Meanwhile, aid was piling up in foreign countries, awaiting approval from the junta.

The country's main airport in Yangon is incapable of handling more than five flights a day, when it should be taking in at least one every hour, said PLAN, a London-based children's aid group.

"Logistically, the situation looks bleak," it said in a statement. "In short, they have one congested airport, ill equipped to deal with the influx of cargo, no port, restricted fuel and no trucks."

Aid group World Vision said it has requested visas for 20 people and received approval for two, while the U.N. World Food Program had one approved out of the 16 it requested. Still, the U.N. was making some progress in aid delivery.

The junta released 38 tons of high-energy biscuits to the WFP that were confiscated on Friday and several other shipments were on their way.

"We're delighted and very encouraged by what is a very positive sign," said the group's spokesman, Marcus Prior.

But World Vision, which has a big presence in Myanmar, said relief material delivered so far is a tiny fraction of what is needed.

The junta says it wants to hand out all donated supplies on its own.

But many survivors have been without help for more than a week after fleeing their inundated villages to take shelter in monasteries and schools in towns. The canals and flooded roads to higher ground were littered with the bloated bodies of humans. The stench was everywhere.

"The first few we saw, we were all very shocked," said U Pinyatale, a monk living near the Pyapon River, where dozens of corpses floated in the brackish waters. "After a while, there were just too many."


US to begin airlift of relief goods to Myanmar

Agencies
Published: May 12, 2008, 08:29

Yangon: A US military plane carrying relief goods is scheduled to land in Myanmar on Monday as authorities in the cyclone-hit country struggled to feed its 1.5 million survivors.

The United States said it received permission to land the plane on Monday and hopes to send in two more planes on Tuesday.

The military plane is carrying wood, buckets, nails, blankets and plastic tarps, and other relief goods that will be handed to the military junta in Myanmar.

A French naval ship containing tons of medical equipment, food and water is also on its way toward the country.

Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar last week, leaving at least 22,000 dead, although the United Nations estimates the death toll could be at least 100,000 .





The military junta has been criticised for delaying the issuing of visas to foreign aid workers who want to inter the country.


U.S. Newswire


Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association Delivers Aid to Cyclone Survivors in Myanmar

52 minutes ago


To: NATIONAL EDITORS

Contact: Laura Park, +001-626-444-4385, +001-626-444-4386 (fax), info@SupremeMasterTV.com

LOS ANGELES, May 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In the aftermath of a powerful cyclone that swept through Myanmar with extreme wind and water surges, Supreme Master Ching Hai, 2006 Gusi Peace Prize laureate for her worldwide humanitarian contributions, expressed her great concern and sent relief assistance for the victims. She requested that a team from the Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association, Thailand chapter, travel to Myanmar to join Burmese Association members in relief work. Supreme Master Ching Hai also made a US$20,000 donation for the purchase of emergency supplies. Arriving on May 6, the relief team was one of the earliest aid groups to be able to distribute relief to survivors within the country, and has been working there ever since.

Supreme Master Television's correspondent in Myanmar reported, "We decided to go to one camp in Yangon without prior notice. It is a small camp holding about 50 people. They are very happy to receive the gifts and to know that there are some people caring and coming to them."

As the devastation resulting from Cyclone Nargis rises to staggering levels of an estimated 80,000 lives lost, international groups attempt to rush relief aid and support to the estimated 1.5 million homeless survivors. Supreme Master Ching Hai wants to convey this message of gratitude to all governments, organizations and relief workers from every corner of the world: "Thank you, all the international help that brings care and necessities to afflicted victims. Thank you all the relief workers for taking time and forsaking your own comfort, even traveling great distance on unfavorable roads and conditions to bring love and assistance to people in time of need. May Heaven bless you abundantly for your generosity and noble sacrifice."

Last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that warming oceans could contribute to increasingly severe cyclones with stronger winds and heavier rains. The Myanmar disaster not only has resulted in a huge loss of human and animal lives and property, but vast rice-growing areas have also been completely wiped out, worsening the world food crisis even more. The 2006 United Nations report "Livestock's Long Shadow" points out that meat consumption generates 18% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, more than all forms of transportation combined. Seventy percent of the Amazon rainforest is now gone, largely to support animals being raised for food, which has greatly aggravated global warming. And one third of grain production worldwide is used to feed livestock instead of humans.

Government officials from the United States to the United Kingdom have called for the vegetarian (vegan) solution, pointing out that it is simple and low-tech, it saves money and it's something everyone can do. Australia's Senator Andrew Bartlett, a vegan, stated: "There is no easier, cheaper and more immediate thing we can do to significantly reduce our personal contribution to greenhouse emissions than to cut the amount of meat and dairy products that we consume."

Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association is a non-profit organization with worldwide members from all cultural backgrounds. For over two decades, Supreme Master Ching Hai and her Association have devoted considerable efforts toward providing humanitarian relief to disaster victims and the less fortunate, as well as promoting sustainable lifestyle choices such as vegetarianism (veganism), which benefits our planet and all her inhabitants.

This news was exclusively broadcast on Supreme Master Television's Noteworthy News. Supreme Master Television is a constructive television channel currently broadcasting 24/7 via 14 satellite platforms worldwide.

SOURCE Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association

http://news.yahoo.com/s/usnw/20080512/pl_usnw/supreme_master_ching_hai_international_association_delivers_aid_to_cyclone_survivors_in_myanmar

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Chinese community in Myanmar actively takes part in cyclone relief work

Source: Xinhua | 05-12-2008 08:28

YANGON, May 11 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese community in Myanmar's biggest city of Yangon is taking part in the cyclone relief work along with the Myanmar people with three major local Chinese associations having successively donated through the authorities concerned to storm victims a total of 50 million Kyats (45,000 U.S. dollars) in cash in the last two days.

These associations are the Overseas Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Overseas Chinese Charity Association and Fujian Native Association.

Other individuals also made such donations to the government's relief and resettlement headquarters.

At a meeting of the charity activities launched here Sunday, local Chinese businessmen disclosed that many of their factories operating in some industrial zones in Yangon were destroyed to certain extent.

A local Chinese businessman, who just returned from the disaster-torn area where he had business, also disclosed that at least 10 local Chinese residents have died and more than 100 missing in Laputta township, one of the areas in Myanmar's southwestern Ayeyawaddy division hit by the violent cyclone storm Nargis last weekend.

It was the first report about casualties of Chinese residents in the disaster-hit regions as access to the areas from outside was only available when some transport and communications links started to resume in the last few days.

In a village named Pyinsalu in the township, houses of about 4 to 5 Chinese families were blown away. Three family members were feared dead in one of these households, while two sons of another family have died in the disaster, leaving their parents, a sister and one of their wives behind, Lai, who is a Fujian Yongding native, spoke to his native members.

According to Lai, there were 400 to 500 Chinese households with a population of 2,000 to 3,000 including those from Fujian, Guangdong and the Hakka natives residing in Laputta which has been totally destroyed by Nargis.

In another township of Mawlamyinegyun island in the division, houses of two Chinese families disappeared in storm, leaving 10 family members missing, according to another businessman Du who also said villages in Bogalay township sustained the most serious damage. Survivors there have run up to town from village but were transferred to the nearby township of Myaungmya in the division.

The Hainggyi Island in the division was also totally wrecked, he added.

The deadly tropical cyclone Nargis, which occurred over the Bay of Bengal, severely hit last weekend five divisions and states -- Yangon, Bago, Ayeyawaddy, Kayin and Mon, covering such coastal towns in southwestern Ayeyawaddy division as Haing Gyi Island, Pathein, Myaungmya, Laputta, Mawlamyinegyun, Kyaiklat, Phyarpon and Bogalay, and the biggest city of Yangon and sustaining the heaviest ever casualties and infrastructural damage.

According to an official updated death toll Sunday, a total of 28,485 people have lost their lives in the cyclone storm with altogether 33,416 people still missing.

Editor:Zhang

http://www.cctv.com/english/20080512/100906.shtml

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Mr. Salong
Coordinator
News Desk
Shwe Gas Movement- India

Ph: +91-9899138581
Email: shweinfo@gmail.com
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