An article in yesterday’s Irrawaddy states “an estimated 46% of families in Burma’s Irrawaddy delta have less than two days’ worth of food, according to an initial post-disaster assessment….Food shortages were just part of the preliminary findings, with 60% of households reporting inadequate access to clean drinking water…59% of homes in the delta were severely damaged in the storm and subsequent tidal surge.” A team of more than 300 people representing a variety of views, solutions and local and international agencies are participating in “the first systematic look” at the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis and the military dictatorship’s response to it. (See the article: http://www.irrawaddy.org/print_article.php?art_id=12998)
The second article linked below, by Save the Children, gives the good news that the “vast, vast majority of people” have received some aid. The bad news is “almost no one has received the level of assistance they need to survive and rebuild their lives.” http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7477577.stm
I guess the good news is that someone is finally being able to assess the damage and make a plan for future needs and create a basis for sharing information between parties involved in the solution. The bad news is, while media/world attention wanders off to the next disaster, those in the delta will still be trying to survive on their resilience and creativity and little else. As a westerner, it’s hard for me to even start to understand what it is like to barely survive (to have the limited choices in basic matters that poverty forces on you), and then what it’s like to have a lot of those choices ripped away by circumstances way beyond your control…I will never understand. However, as a mother, I understand, you do what you must to survive and to try to ensure the survival of your kids. But we can do better.
An internet search will reveal lots of large, and some small, organizations working to help provide assistance to those in the delta. I don’t know people from the large organizations, but I do know the people at Thirst Aid, Partners Relief & Development, World Aid, Inc., and Free Burma Rangers, who are supporting the work of the networks already in place before the cyclone, and working with the community based organizations of all faiths, any faith, or no faith, who are able to get relief to their people. If you can give, choose a way to give. If you can pray, please do, for whatever disaster or people your heart connects to. If you can advocate for justice, please do whatever large or small steps, you feel compelled to do! If you can do all three, better yet. Thanks!