15 May, 2008

New Burma / Myanmar Maps from Google Maps

A maplet for Google Maps showing roads in Burma, Union of Myanmar has been created and can be accessed here. Additional maps for Cyclone Nargis and Burma / Myanmar can be accessed at Google Maps.

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Malteaser Reports 80,000 Deaths in Labutta Township, Burma, Union of Myanmar

Malteser International, which through its affiliates has a history of extending aid to the sick and injured dating back to hospices of the Knights of Malta in the middle ages, has been working in Burma / Myanmar since 1996 on small scale health issues. Because of its relationships with various bishops and government approval, Malteser has been able to deliver on-the ground aid to the affected since shortly after Cyclone Nargis, and has been providing frequent reports from the region as well as photos.

First results of assessment report from the delta area revealed an extremely serious situation. There is an urgent need of relief assistance for water, sanitation, food, shelter and medical supplies. The hospital in Labutta is not operational anymore.

According to local authorities more than 80,000 death cases are estimated in the area of Labutta Township. The people live on rice soup which was donated by the communities and the rice portions are insufficient. Many people suffer of burns or bruises by flying palm tree leaves or bamboo shields leaving big wounds on the backs of the people. Main problems are also diarrhea and skin diseases. Furthermore, there are a large number of lactating mothers for whom the horrible situation they suffer is leading to feeding problems and health risks for the babies. The number of pregnant women is high and midwives are essential but not available.

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14 May, 2008

Appeal - [Burma cyclone]

This landed in many inboxes last week, as well as in comments on this blog. There were other things to do at that time, and the petition seemed to be doing well (it still is, having collected €1,150,448 as of this writing), so we took it off our radar. But here you go now.

From the petition:
..Avaaz is raising funds for the International Burmese Monks Organization and related groups, which will transmit funds directly to monasteries in affected areas.

In many of the worst-hit areas, the monasteries are the only source of shelter and food for Burma's poorest people. They have been on the front lines of the aid effort since the storm struck. Other forms of aid could be delayed, diverted or manipulated by the Burmese government--but the monks are the most trusted and reliable institution in the country.
The petition is here. For more information about Avaaz's work to support the Burmese people, click here.

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Appeal - Archbishop of Yangon on behalf of Myanmar Disaster Relief Committee

This just in, after the initial appeal we published here.

Dear ~

Thanks for your concern and kind offer at this time of great need of us. I feel more than ever, the world as a family. The cyclone hit and greatly damaged many parts of Yangon and Pathein Dioceses. We have formed one central committee for both dioceses. (MDRC: Myanmar Disaster Relief Committee)

The numbers of death is rising from each day: it is not less than 100,000 people who lost their lives.

In both dioceses, the church is carrying out emergency works, such as, making and bringing the victims into camps, providing food, water, medicines, and immediate roofing and shelters.

Many volunteers, lay people, priests, nuns, Catholic doctors, nurses are now in the field working on these needs. In the archdiocese of Yangon, Karitas Yangon together with Karitas Myanmar, we have sent out the first emergency aid to some most hit places and villages. Now the second group is operating in larger scales for food, water and medicine headed by Catholic doctors and nurses and religious sisters who has medical experiences. Most probably they will be coming back afte 4 or 5 days later with more information and details.

The need is enormous and vast. Over thousands and thousands of families in the archdiocese of Yangon alone, were greatly effected. We surely need your immediate support in kind or cash.

As for the other damages, beginning from our St. Mary’s Cathedral, all Churches in Yagnon City and near by parishes, Bishop’s compound, clergy houses, convents and boarding places have all been effected.

We will give you more details and updating news later.

With our deep appreciation and thanks,

Charles Bo

Archbishop of Yangon

For the transfer of money, please just send them to:
Name of the Bank: ICBC ( Asia)
Account No.: 701-056-00059-0
Swift Code: UBHKHKHH

Please inform Fr. Emile Louis Tisserand by email that it is for ‘MDRC’
Tel: (852) 2849 8187 and 2849 8188
Fax: (852)2849 8319

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13 May, 2008

Burma / Myanmar Armed Checkpoints: "No Foreigners Allowed"

Police barred foreign aid workers from reaching cyclone Nargis survivors in hard-hit areas of Burma (Union of Myanmar) Tuesday, while emergency food shipments backed up at the main airport for Myanmar's biggest city. Checkpoints manned by armed police were set up Tuesday on roads leading to the Irrawaddy River delta and all international aid workers and journalists were turned back by officers who took down their names and passport numbers. Drivers were interrogated. "No foreigners allowed," one policeman said after waving a car back. Supplies piled up at Yangon's main airport, which does not have equipment to lift cargo off big Boeing 747s. Read the entire story

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Burma / Myanmar: Is Air Dropped Aid the Answer?

As debate hots up on whether aid air drops should be used in Mynamar, international aid agency Oxfam said today (13 May) that often when the international community has chosen to parachute in aid to a disaster or conflict zone it has been hugely expensive and failed to reach the most vulnerable people. Air dropping aid does not guarantee food and other relief supplies reach the people most in need. In many cases it's the strongest and fittest who get to the aid first and not the sick or injured who most need help and assistance. Read the entire article

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Bogalay - Some Aid Available, Relief Workers Needed

A human rights activist in Bogalay, Burman, Union of Myanmar said disease and poor sanitation in the township in the aftermath of the recent cyclone have placed a heavy burden on healthcare provision. Children are starting to have dysentery in the monasteries due to the lack of toilets,” she said.Children are starting to have dysentery in the monasteries due to the lack of toilets,” she said. The Bogalay activist said NGOs were helping refugees in the township, but they remained in difficulty. “The UNICEF people are treating patients properly. I heard that their staff are very tired and asking for new people. Read the entire report

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Conditions Worsen in Labutta, Burma, Union of Myanmar

The situation in Labutta, Burma (Union of Myanmar) remains desperate, with relief efforts proceeding slowly and confined to the major waterways and local officials more focused on personal gain than on helping victims, locals said. Rescue efforts are not getting to the villages situated on tributaries of the main river. The authorities are also banning Burmese donors from giving help to the victims. Read the entire report

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Cyclone Fundraising "Sluggish"?

The Hartford Courant reports:
The Myanmar death toll could be half of the fatalities that followed the devastation of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, but the amount of money donated to help has been a fraction of what was raised in the first week following the Indian Ocean disaster.
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Help wanted - young and energetic people to volunteer in the field

Email forwarded by Zamemi Hpyimaw.

From: HninHnin {dot} Sett {at} wfp {dot} org
Date: Sat, 10 May 2008 11:40:32 +0630
Subject: WFP need more human resources

Dear All,

I would like to inform you that WFP is urgently required young & energetic people to help us for assessments and collecting information of for delta area.

As such, if any of you know anyone, have any young relatives who are educated and want to work with WFP for a month or two. Eg. Church Organizations, University Graduates, Unemployed relatives etc.

All are welcome.

Please send the particulars soonest to WFP following address.

Thank you and best regards,

Hnin Hnin Sett

United Nations World Food Programme
UNDP Building
No. 6, Natmauk Road, Tamwe Tsp

** Can stay overnight in the field.

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12 May, 2008

US Restrictions on Remittances to Burma Union of Myanmar Eased

The United States Treasury Department is easing restrictions on personal remittances from US$300 per Burmese houshold in any three-month period to an unlimited amount and also easing restrictions on fund transfers for humanitarian and religious activity in Burma, Republic of Myanmar. Money transfers will not be permitted in any amount to or through persons blocked under a US sanctions program. General Licenses 14 and 15 are affected. Read the new rules from US Dept. of the Treasury

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Relief Aid via Remote Control in Burma, Union of Myanmar

In Burma, Union of Myanmar, the ships, aircraft, money and people are slowly getting into place for a 'tsunami-style' international aid operation for the cyclone-ravaged Irrawaddy Delta. Now all they need is government permission. The World Food Programme (WFP) says it only has 10 percent of the staff and equipment it needed inside the army-ruled country."We think we need to be moving 375 tonnes of food a day down into the affected areas. We are doing less than 20 percent of that," WFP spokesman Marcus Prior told a news conference. The WFP says it is "essentially operating by remote control." Read the entire story.

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WHO in Burma: Latest Figures on Casualties & Requests for Help

Updated official statistics as of 10 May:

  • 28,458 deaths
  • 33,416 remain missing
  • Over 1,5 M severely affected

Situational Brief:
  • Government assessment results to be officially released on 12 May
  • International humanitarian staff not allowed to move out of Yangon yet
  • Visas are hard to obtain for non-Asian nationals

Help Needed:
  • 500 fogging machines
  • 100,000 bed nets
  • Tents to open outreach dispensaries

In order to make a donation or provide offers in kind assistance for the requested relief items, please contact the WHO Health Cluster Lead - Arun Malik, via E-Mail to mallik AT or phone on +66 819215486.

Source: UN OCHA Sit Rep sent to relief teams in Burma / WHO regional office in Bangkok

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11 May, 2008

UNDAC & WFP Appeal for Warehousing Facilities, Uplift Equipment & Transportation

The following is an urgent appeal for uplift equipment, warehousing facilities and transportation to affected areas from Dr. Jemilah Mahmood who is the UNDAC Head of Relief Operations in Burma:

Today, all the flights and aid consignments have safely arrived and cleared to the individual agencies with no difficulty. There is an urgent need for warehousing facilities, transportation to the affected areas and "uplift" equipment as the one (being currently) used is faulty and may delay transfer of goods out of the planes. If there is anyone out there who can provide the "uplift" equipment, please contact the logistics cluster urgently. Thank you.

Contacts for Logistics Cluster (Led by WFP):

Deployed In-Country
Logistics Lead - Paul Wyatt / paul.wyatt AT
Logistics Officer - Theo Lingens / theo.lingens AT / +95048701

Deployed to Bangkok
Logistics Officer - Kevin Howley / kevin.howley AT / +39 3405605726
Matthew Hollingworth / matthew.hollingwoth AT / +66 813635832
Rachida Rabdelli / abdelli.rachida AT / +66 0817925635
Elena Rovaris / elena.rovaris AT / +66 0817925591

Source: UNDAC/ECHO team in Yangon

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The Looming Water Crisis in Burma

The Wall Street Journal reports:
"More food reached Myanmar's hungry cyclone victims as roads were cleared of fallen trees, but a British aid group warned that up to 1.5 million people face death if they do not get clean water and sanitation soon."
On a related note, the first cases of cholera have also been reported in Burma. (Link to AGI, an Italian news agency)

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Burmese in India collecting relief funds

An email from Mr Kim

I am Kim. We, Burmese in India, start working to collect donation for relief fund for survivors of Nargis..
Our priority to send relief aids are
(1) Cash - we have direct network with Monk Association to transfer, and think safest way to reach to survivors without passing junta...
(2) Medicine- Diseases such as cholera, malaria, diarrhoea and typhoid have been infected..and recommended to supply water purification tablets.

Sasana Moli- International Burmese Monks Organisation is closely working and dealing with the my suggestion is to discuss with them as well.

I attach our request letter for donation of relief fund...

Relief Fund for Cyclone (Nargis) Survivors in Burma
Appeal for Donations

Burma's "rice basket"—the Irrawaddy delta rice-growing region—was hit by cyclone Nargis on 2 May 2008 leaving more than 1 million people homeless and destruction of 95% of the buildings.
The estimated death toll may be over 100,000 and an estimated 1.9 million people may be vulnerable to water-borne diseases, hunger and lack of clean drinking water. This is considered to be the worst natural disaster to strike Burma since the tsunami hit the region in 2004.
The primary risk following the flooding of the delta region is the outbreak of diseases spread by contaminated water, such as diarrhoea, cholera and typhoid. Stagnant water is providing a breeding ground for bacteria and mosquitoes. Initially, the most likely killer is acute watery diarrhoea, which causes dehydration. Those most at risk are under-fives, the sick, the old and the pregnant. There are already reports of an outbreak of Cholera in the Irrawaddy delta. Other threats include typhoid and hepatitis A, both passed on by contaminated food and water.
Compounding the problem are the efforts of the Burmese military government to frustrate aid actually reaching the vast majority of people affected by the disaster. Though the Burmese government has officially asked for assistance, aid agencies have been reporting that the supplies are being prevented from getting through. Many aid organizations and workers including the UN are being denied visas to enter the country.
At the moment, aid is being allowed from India, China and Thailand apart from the UN Agencies. Other countries are unable to reach essential necessities inside Burma.
Donations in the forms of cash, medicines, water purification tablets and clothes are
appreciated. Your donations in cash will be acknowledged with a receipt and collected at the International Burmese Monks Association. The first dispatch of all donations is on 17 May 2008.
Your support is urgently needed. Please join to help the cyclone survivors by your kind contribution through "Relief Fund for Cyclone Survivors in Burma (India)."
Please contact for further information to:
• Mr. Kim at Ph: +91-9810476273, Email:
• The Other Media, B5/136, Safdarjung Enclave, ND, Contact: Sahana Basavapatna at +91 11 2610 5472, +91 11 2853 5860 and +91 99682 96202, Email:



Relief Fund for Cyclone (Nargis) Survivors in Burma (India)

Committee for Relief Fund for Cyclone (Nargis) Survivors in Burma (India) concerns the Burmese and Indian activists to ensure that much needed humanitarian aid reaches the survivors.

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Message from Charles Bo, Archbishop of Yangon

Dear Friends and all,

I am Fr. Ignatius Nyan Htoo, new secretary to Archbishop Charles Bo. On behalf of Archbishop Charles Bo, I would like to thank you for all your love and concern to our people of Myanmar. For the time being, Archbishop Charles Bo is busy with going around the affected areas in the Archdiocese. Here is the message that the Archbishop would like to communicate with you and soon he will be at the position to contact you personally.

Messsage of Archbishop Charles Bo

From the bottom of our hearts, we would like to express our gratitude and thank to all of you for the messages of concern, prayers and sympathies for our suffering people. Indeed, the cyclone Nargis left a lot of terrible and bad consequences to our country especially to our poor people. All your prayers, concerns and desire to be of help for our people are deeply appreciated. We have formed a committee “Emergency Disaster Relief Committee” (MDRC) composed of Archdiocese of Yangon, Karuna (Caritas) Myanmar Social Services, CAFOD, CRS and New Humanity to carry out effectively and quickly the emergency response. We do believe and hope that the good Lord is close to us through all of you especially at this moment of suffering and darkness.

With deep appreciation,

Charles Bo
Archbishop of Yangon

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Update on Visas & Flights Gathered from Recent Sit Reps

The following updates have been compiled from recent IASC & UNJLC Sit Reps over the past 24 hours:

  1. The government of Myanmar is on a four days leave, ending Tuesday. In the meantime, no visa applications will be processed from the Burma Embassy at Bangkok in Thailand.
  2. Some aid agencies have been able to obtain visas into Burma through their embassies in Sri Lanka and Paris
  3. The president of Red Cross in Myanmar has provided a certificate for Red Cross and IFRC staff to use upon Arrival at the airport. This will supposedly allow for visa on arrival for Red Cross staff, but it is still not sure if this approach will work in practice, however 4 staff have already arrived and been granted visas on the basis of such a letter.
  4. Flights arriving from Singapore into Burma are said to be easier for entry into the country than flights from Bangkok.
  5. The US Military is planning to send 1 c-130 plane on Monday, as well as 2 more plane on Tuesday - using these as test flights. Both planes will be carrying emergency relief items.
  6. Information coming from the Inter-agency Logistics team within Myanmar reveals that there is fuel available in the country for the time being and this includes airplane fuel.
  7. There are heavy showers forecasted for next week, especially Tuesday through Thursday. This may have implications for access as roads potentially flood and this may hamper relief operations.
  8. Communications have been established in 3 out of four townships, and the fourth is being worked on.
  9. An early assessment reveals that 3000 schools have been damaged, out of which 75 percent have been severely damaged.
  10. The Ministry of Health has promised that supplies coming into the country from WHO will be released to WHO staff in Myanmar.
  11. There have been a few reports of diarrhea, but it is not known whether they are related to cholera and in order to prevent further outbreaks, the Ministry of Health has agreed to a surveillance system created by WHO.

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Call for Emergency Volunteers by Australian Aid International

AAI (Australian Aid International) is seeking expressions of interest for persons wishing to volunteer to aid the relief effort in Burma. Suitable qualified and experienced people who have skills that would be beneficial to the AAI’s aid effort are encouraged to apply.

Suitable skills include but not limited to:

* Doctors
* Nurses
* Medics
* Public Health Specialists
* Engineers
* Builders
* IT Specialists
* Communication Specialists
* Logisticians
* Managers
* Community Development Specials

Important notes from the AAI website regarding this call for volunteers:

  • In order to be successful candidates must also complete a AAI Introduction to Humanitarian Operation Course prior to deployment as a volunteer.
  • Those wishing to apply can download the application form here.
  • AAI we will only reply to those persons who are short listed for the Burma response
  • Positions will be dependant on approval to enter Burma
  • More information is available on +613 8625 0005 or via e-mail to info AT

Source: AAI's website & ReliefWeb

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10 May, 2008

IDP Camp Update from UNICEF - Key Figures Released

Following assessment teams returning from affected areas, the following WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) update was released by the UNICEF in Burma during an IASC (Inter-Agency Standing Committee) meeting last night. Of the key figures released regarding IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) in affected areas, 10,000 have been relocated as camps are too crowded and it is unclear as to how many IDPs have voluntarily relocated nor their distance while a chlorine producing factory is now operational and sanitation efforts have been initiated.

20,000 people living in 50 temporary “camps”
Pyapon: 16,000 people are living in 31 camps. In one of them, 5 latrines are shared by 3500 people.
Labutta: 150,000 people living in 117 camps.
Mawlamayinegyun: 50 percent of the villages have been destroyed and 20,000 people are living in 20 camps.

Urgent Needs:
Key problems with water supplies are that ponds are filled with dead bodies and cannot be used, and aquifers are saline. Normal water purification processes will not suffice in such circumstances. Buckets are one of the main needs and about 50,000 have been produced locally, but the need exists for 500,000 buckets.

UNICEF Contact Information for Donors:

Emergency WASH Specialist (based in Bangkok) - Roberto Saltori
Tel: +66 2356 9237 / E-Mail: rsaltori AT

Source: UNICEF, May 10th IASC & Regional Cluster Lead Meeting

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