Wednesday, 7 May 2008

[BurmaCampaign] Cyclone disaster in Burma

Dear friends

Cyclone Nargis has caused massive destruction across Burma. Over 22,000 people have died, over a million people are homeless and tens of thousands of people are missing. We fear the death-toll in Burma will escalate dramatically unless aid is delivered to victims in the next few days. Most people already live in poverty, and have no resources to cope with a disaster on this scale.

We are very concerned about the Irrawaddy division, which bore the brunt of the storms. The region produces much of Burma’s rice and its inhabitants live in bamboo huts held together by grass. We fear that these houses simply did not survive the storm's 190 km/h winds and 3.5 metre storm surge.

We are working hard to help the affected people. We have successfully lobbied the UK government to take action and today they pledged to give £5 million to the relief effort.

No country would be able to cope with this event alone, but instead of warning the population that the storm was coming and making disaster relief plans, the regime did nothing. And now instead of allowing in disaster relief agencies to do their work, the regime is refusing to allow free access to humanitarian organisations. The regime ruling Burma places severe restrictions on the delivery of aid, and this has largely gone unchallenged by the international community. Although the regime has said it will accept aid, there is no information on what aid it will allow and where it can be delivered. It is essential that aid is delivered through independent agencies, such as the UN and aid agencies, rather than the regime, which is likely to misuse or steal aid.

Please check our website for the latest news,

Thank you.

Johnny Chatterton
The Burma Campaign UK

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