12 August, 2010

Leh: Save the Children response

Latest Updates
* 130 people are confirmed dead 600 people have been reported missing; 200 from a small village before Choglumsur.
* Within a minutes cloudburst and heavy rainfall the lives of hundreds lost and thousands displaced; and inflicted large scale damage to homes and to the districts communications networks and infrastructure.
* The Prime Minister has announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 1 lakh to the families of the deceased, and Rs. 50,000 to those who have been seriously injured
* Government rescue efforts are well underway in the flood affected district.
* Save the Children is the lead NGO on the ground, and has begun its assessment of the scale of the flood damage and its affects for children and their families.

Current Situation
Within a minute, a cloudburst over the district of Leh in the state of Jammu & Kashmir, brought a high concentration of rainfall to the area causing flooding and landslides. 130 people are confirmed dead, approximately 400 are injured and 600 people are missing. "We have recovered 130 bodies so far and at least 370 are injured. The number of missing is yet to be ascertained," State Police Chief Kuldeep Khoda said, adding the toll may go up.
A small village before Choglumsur, which bore the brunt of the incessant rains, was completely wiped out as rescue workers were looking for survivors in the mud slush and debris. Over 200 people were still reported to be missing from the worst-hit village Choglumsar, 13 kms from here. The death toll is expected to rise, as some of the affected villages remain inaccessible. Weather conditions have not yet improved and rainfall has been continuous since late Thursday night, hampering rescue efforts. The continuous rainfall increases the risk of additional landslides, further challenging rescue and relief efforts.
While the airport in Leh has reopened, poor weather conditions have made air travel difficult. Flights carrying relief materials and personnel have been unable to land however, the Civil Aviation Ministry is coordinating with the State Government to have relief materials airlifted to the affected areas as roads and highways remain closed.
The government has begun relief and rescue efforts, providing food and cooking materials to the affected families. 6000 soldiers have been deployed to the affected areas. The Prime Minister has announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 1 lakh to families of the deceased and Rs. 50,000 to those seriously injured.

Extract from a post on the Save The Children site where you can also find info about what is needed and how to donate to their efforts.

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11 August, 2010

Leh rehabilitation


You probably have heard about the flash floods in Leh. We are setting up a relief fund to assist with the rebuilding of Leh, Choglamsar and the other affected villages. Also, Sonam Norboo Memorial hospital in Leh has lost all its equipment and we plan to help it get back into business.

There is much to be done and we need resources and funds. I can assure you that every paise we raise will be used in Leh. Please make out cheques in the name of ‘The LAMO Trust’ and post them to me at:

Sunetro Ghosal
Matarwada Amboli
Andheri West
Mumbai 400 058
Tel: +91-22-26770980

Do not forget to send me your name and full address and we will send you a receipt for the amount.

LAMO stands for Ladakh Arts and Media Organisation ( and I can vouch for their integrity.



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05 April, 2010

7.2 Quake, Aftershocks Rock USA - Mexico Border

It is estimated that 20 million people have felt the shaking of the Easter afternoon 7.2 earthquake in Guadalupe Victoria, Baja California, Mexico. Guadalupe is located 30 miles south of Mexicali, Mexico and about 120 miles east of the U.S. city, San Diego. The quake struck at 3:40 p.m. High rise buildings in Riverside, Los Angeles and San Diego were reported to have been rocking back and forth. The earthquake was also felt in in Palm Springs, California; Phoenix, Arizona; and Las Vegas. No significant damage was reported in Southern California, but the twin border towns of Calexico, California and Mexicali, Mexico have both sustained significant damage. two deaths have been reported. Dozens of aftershocks have been reported.

27 February, 2010

Google launches person finder for Chile

Google launched a person finder to allow tracking of people potentially affected by the earthquake in Chile.

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8.8 Magnitude Earthquake in Chile

A massive 8.8 earthquake, one of the strongest ever recorded,struck South-central Chile at approximately 6:34 am UTC, cutting power and telecommunications in large sector of Santiago, the Chilean capital lcated 210 miles away, and triggering a tsunami alert as far away as Australia and Hawaii.

14 January, 2010

Collecting Data In Haiti

Google's Crisis Response Team has a Haiti Situation Tracking Form (link to; open to everyone).

There is also an online tracking tool called Ushahidi that could be very useful to earthquake victims in Haiti who may not have internet access but still have access to mobile phones.

It's important that word gets out about these tracking tools, so please consider linking to them on your blog, Twitter updates, Facebook profile and website.

(Links via a post on Reddit.)

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13 January, 2010

Tsunami Watch Cancelled Except for Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands

The tsunami watch issued following the 7.0 earthquake in Haiti from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center at 2345 UTC has been updated as follows:



Link to Bulletin

12 January, 2010

Earthquake in Haiti - Tsunami Watch for Dominican Republic, Cuba and Bahamas

An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 has struck the nation of Haiti. A tsunami watch has been issued for the neighboring Dominican Republic, along with Cuba and the Bahamas.

Reuters is reporting that both mobile and land telephone lines are down in the capital city of Port-au-Prince. Readers are reminded that sending SMS text messages via cell phone can sometimes be effective when telephones are not working.

Further information:
*Pacific Tsunami Warning Center Bulletin at 22:54 UTC Page that will be updated
*Google news aggregator Haiti

19 December, 2009

L'Aquila Earthquake: Eight Month Update

Eight months after the 5.8 magnitude earthquake which devastated L'Aquila, Italy last April, little has been done to clean up the rubble in that city or the other affected hill towns towns in the Abruzzo region of Italy. Spiegel Online International has an updated report, which details how Mafia corruption has entered the rebuilding process, and how the area's economy has stalled. Roughly 19,000 are waiting for new homes, and progress is slow or nonexistent.

30 September, 2009

Earthquake and Tsunami in Samoa

Via the BBC
At least 65 people were reported dead in Samoa, more than 20 in American Samoa and at least six in Tonga.

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06 August, 2009

Government-authorised hospitals for the treatment of H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu) in India

Symptoms: cough, headache, fever, bodyache, fatigue, chills, nausea, sore throat, vomitting, diarrhea.
City Hospital Address Contact
Chennai King Institute of Preventive Medicine (24/7 Service) Guindy, Chennai – 32 (044) 22501520, 22501521 & 22501522
Communicable Diseases Hospital Thondiarpet, Chennai (044) 25912686/87/88, 9444459543
Government General Hospital Opp. Central Railway Station, Chennai – 03 (044) 25305000, 25305723, 25305721, 25330300
Pune Naidu Hospital Nr Le'Meridian, Raja Bahadur Mill, GPO, Pune– 01 (020) 26058243
National Institute of Virology 20A Ambedkar Road, Pune– 11 (020) 26006290
Kolkata ID Hospital 57,Beliaghata, Beliaghata Road, Kolkata - 10‎ (033) 23701252
Coimbatore Government General Hospital Near Railway Station,
Trichy Road, Coimbatore– 18
(0422) 2301393, 2301394, 2301395, 2301396
Hyderabad Govt. General and Chest Diseases Hospital, Erragadda, Hyderabad (040) 23814939
Mumbai Kasturba Gandhi Hospital Arthur Road, N M Joshi Marg, Jacob Circle, Mumbai - 11 (022) 23083901, 23092458, 23004512
Sir J J Hospital J J Marg, Byculla, Mumbai - 08 (022) 23735555, 23739031, 23760943, 23768400 / 23731144 / 5555 / 23701393 / 1366
Haffkine Institute Acharya Donde Marg, Parel, Mumbai – 12 (022) 24160947, 24160961, 24160962
Kochi Government Medical College Gandhi Nagar P O, Kottayam - 08 (0481) 2597311,2597312
Government Medical College Vandanam P O, Allapuzha - 05 (0477) 2282015
Taluk Hospital Railway Station Road, Alwaye, Ernakulam (0484) 2624040 Sathyajit - 09847840051
Taluk Hospital Perumbavoor PO, Ernakulam 542 (0484) 2523138 Vipin - 09447305200
Gurgaon &
All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Ansari Nagar, Aurobindo Marg Ring Road, New Delhi– 29 (011) 26594404, 26861698 Prof. R C Deka - 9868397464
National Institute for Communicable Diseases 22, Sham Nath Marg,
New Delhi – 54
(011) 23971272/060/344/524/449/326
Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital Kharak Singh Marg,
New Delhi – 01
(011) 23741640, 23741649, 23741639
Dr. N K Chaturvedi – 9811101704
Vallabhai Patel Chest Institute University Enclave, New Delhi- 07 (011) 27667102, 27667441, 27667667, 27666182
Bangalore Victoria Hospital K R Market, Kalasipalayam, Bangalore – 02 (080) 26703294 Dr. Gangadhar - 94480-49863
SDS Tuberculosis & Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases Hosur Road, Hombegowda Nagar, Bangalore – 29 (080) 26631923 Dr. Shivaraj - 99801-48780

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26 April, 2009

Swine Flu updates

Twitter has been full of Swine Flu tweets—they're up to 100 per minute, a friend notes.

Here are a few links.

WHO updates:
24 April 2009
Influenza-like illness in the United States and Mexico
25 April 2009
Swine influenza - Statement by WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan
26 April 2009
Swine flu illness in the United States and Mexico - update 2
WHO is not recommending any travel or trade restrictions.

For more information
Thomas Abraham
Communications in English
Mobile: +41 79 516 3136
Fadela Chaib
Communications in English and French
Mobile: +41 79 475 5556
Sari Setiogi
Communications in English and Bahasa
Mobile: +41 79 701 9467
Gregory Hartl
Communications in English, French, German and Spanish
Mobile: +41 79 203 6715
Aphaluck Bhatiasevi
Communications in English, Thai and Hindi
Mobile: +41 79 484 2997

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says (go to that page for some useful links and advice, and also here):

Human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection have been identified in the United States. Human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection also have been identified internationally. The current U.S. case count is provided below.

U.S. Human Cases of Swine Flu Infection
State # of laboratory
confirmed cases
California 7 cases
Kansas 2 cases
New York City 8 cases
Ohio 1 case
Texas 2 cases
TOTAL COUNT 20 cases
International Human Cases of Swine Flu Infection
See: World Health OrganizationExternal Web Site Policy.
As of April 26, 2009 9:00 AM ET

Investigations are ongoing to determine the source of the infection and whether additional people have been infected with swine influenza viruses.

Swine Flu FAQS on

A Google Map by Niman

View H1N1 Swine Flu in a larger map
Pink markers are suspect
Purple markers are confirmed
Deaths lack a dot in marker

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06 April, 2009

Italian Red Cross Sends Immediate Response to Area Affected by Quake in Italy

Italian Civil Protection is leading the overall response to the Earthquake in Italy, and the Italian Red Cross has activated its national operations center in Legnano, which is coordinating all regional branches for the emergency response. The Italian Red Cross has sent a mobile kitchen which can provide 10,000 meals per day as well as two soup kitchens to respond to the needs of the L'Aquila Hospital. In addition, 36 ambulances, 2 emergency units, 10,000 blankets and 16 dog rescue teams. The orphanage in San Gregorio is being evacuated by the Red Cross who will care for the children.

The Italian Red Cross is seeking donations, which can be made by credit card on its website.

Continuing Coverage on Earthquake in Italy

Continuing coverage of the Earthquake in Italy is available in English at the Rome Post. Coverage in Italian continues at RAI News 24, Corriere Della Serra and at Virgilio Notizie.

Early Video Coverage of the Earthquke in Italy

A number of videos about this morning's Italian Earthquake centered in the medieval fortess hill town of L'Aquila have been uploaded to Daily Motion and can be seen on their website on a page dedicated to coverage of the Equarthquake.

Italy Earthquake Destroys Onna, Damages Roman Baths

Electricity has been cut to 15,000 users in central Italy as a precaution following the eathquake in Central Italy. There are reports of damage to the Baths of Caracalla in Rome. The town of Onna is reported to be completely destroyed.

6.3 Magnitude Quake Rocks Central Italy

Ninety people are reported dead and 50,000 homeless following a 6.3 magnitude earthquake which occurred in central Italy in the early morning hours of April 6, 2009. It is believed that entire towns have been destroyed as a result of the quake which hit at 3:32 am local time. The quake struck 95 km NE of Rome, Italy and 115 miles SE of Perugia, Italy in the Abruzzo region. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has declared a state of emergency for the region, where the worst damage is reported in the picturesque medieval town of L'Aquila which suffered severe damage in earlier earthquakes occurring in 1461 and 1703.

28 November, 2008

Terror Blasts in Mumbai - MumbaiHelp provides coverage

Since the terror attacks in Mumbai on the 26th of November, 2008; MumbaiHelp has been providing instant updates on the situation including information on important contact numbers, lists on the injured and dead, and volunteering with contacting missing people amongst others as well as a call for blood donors.

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08 September, 2008

Bihar floods - appeal from Save the Children

Save the Children, India (part of the international Save the Children Alliance), has details of their aid plans here.

You can support them in these ways (copied from their site):

Bank transfer:
Indian nationals
Account Name: Bal Raksha Bharat
Account Number: 52205574986
Bank Name: Standard Chartered Bank
IFSC code (NEFT/RTGS) SCBL0036001
Foreign nationals
Account Name: Bal Raksha Bharat
Account Number: 52505054724
Bank Name: Standard Chartered Bank
Bank Address: 10 SANSAD MARG, NEW DELHI 110011

1. Download the donation form (PDF) and print it out.
2. Write a cheque payable to ‘Bal Raksha Bharat'
3. Send your cheque along with the donation form to Save the Children, Bal Raksha, Bharat

Online Donation (recommended as most cost-efficient)
Donation page

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06 September, 2008

Appeal: AID INDIA and Pratham (Bihar floods)

Email forwarded by Priyanka Joseph.

Editor's note: 1 lakh = 100,000

Bihar has been hit by a terrible flood. It is one of the worst disasters to strike the country.

It is worse than the Tsunami, worse than the Gujarat Earthquake.

Several million people have been affected. Entire districts - villages and towns - have been washed away. The number of people dead is not even known. There are over 6 lakh people living in 200 relief camps. In Saharsa district alone there are 2 Lakh people in 68 relief camps. Similar numbers are living in camps in Madhepura, Supaul, Araria, Purnia and Katihar districts. And many more (those who are better off and have relatives and friends outside) have fled these districts.

This is NOT the usual Bihar flooding. Usually the Kosi river overflows its banks and floods the villages nearby. The people in these villages are prepared for it.

We are calling it "Flood" - because we don't know what else to call it. What's happening now is not a river overflowing - it is the result of a river suddenly changing course.

This year, the Kosi completely changed course - sweeping away several districts. Thousands of villages that had never experienced flooding before are now destroyed - submerged in water. The people living there were completely taken by surprise. Many have died. Others have lost everything - they are without clothes, food, homes, money.

The scale of the disaster is much bigger than the Tsunami. But because it is Bihar and people think this is like the usual annual flooding, there has been very little coverage of the flooding and very little support pouring in for relief. There is an urgent need to inform people about the nature of this disaster and to mobilize support.

For a week now, AID INDIA's Bihar team has been on the field organizing rescue and relief efforts in the affected districts. So far we have been able to organize some rescue operations and have provided food, milk for children, and medical support for children in several camps. But this is not enough - the scale of the disaster is very large and the need is a lot more. Pratham teams in Bihar have also started working with us and we will now be scaling up the relief efforts significantly.

After the initial shock, the government has been taking a lot of steps to organize rescue and relief operations. The army has rescued people from most of the places. The immediate focus needs to be on food, clothing and health needs of the people in relief camps. Some food is being provided at the camps - but there is a severe shortage and lot of rioting to get at the food. Children are the most affected.

Our immediate focus is on children - there are about 2 lakh children in all the camps. Milk, biscuits and food for children is the first priority now. We are trying to ensure that milk and food reaches all the children in all the relief camps.

The second need is clothes. Most people left their homes with what they were wearing. We need children's clothes, saris for women, undergarments, lungis and lots of blankets. Disease outbreaks are becoming a serious threat and we need medicines.

After the immediate phase, the need will be to focus on health, education, shelter and livelihood needs. But at present, given the scale of the problem, getting past the immediate relief and survival needs are the most critical issues to address.

AID INDIA and Pratham field teams need a lot of support at this time. We need:

1. Funds:
You can donate online at
or you can send a check payable to AID INDIA (mention Bihar Flood Relief) to:
Post Box No: 4903, Gopalapuram, Chennai - 600086, India.
Phone: +91-44-42106493 / 28350403

2. Collect Materials:
Food: Milk Powder and Biscuits
Clothes: Children's clothes, saris, lungis and blankets
Medicine: ORS Packets, Crocin/Paracetamol, Metronidazole, Folic acid tablets, Amoxycillin, Cough Syrup, Gentamycin, Cotrimaxazole, Cotton & Bandage.

3. Volunteer:
To raise awareness and mobilize support, help with collection and packaging.
We also need volunteers to work with our relief teams at the field (but for that you must spend at least 10 days in the affected areas and must be very healthy and ready to work in difficult circumstances.)

To keep everyone updated on what's happening at the field level, we have set up a separate website for the relief efforts:

Please direct your friends and others you know to this site. We will keep posting new updates, reports, photos and other information from the field at this site. It is important that people across the country (and the world) understand the scale of this disaster. The six districts submerged is almost one-fifth of Bihar under water!

For more information please contact: or
Prabha: +91-98403-51132 (
Gomathi: +91-94453-91090 (

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04 September, 2008

Bihar floods - CASA's response

Forwarded by Nisha Purushothaman of IFP


CASA is registered as a Society under the Societies’ Registration Act XXI of 1860 and has a history of responding to emergencies and disasters since 1947 and is mandated to work in a purely secular manner in all spheres of its programme activities including humanitarian assistance programmes. CASA’s response is regardless of considerations of caste, creed, language, religion, ethnic origin or political affiliation.

In response to the current devastating flood situation in Bihar, we have mobilised a team of 30 staff members and volunteers with vehicle and other logistical support to render relief assistance in Supaul and Madhepura districts. The relief measures that we plan to undertake are as follows:

Relief Distribution:

Ready to Eat Food: 5000 families in the affected area of Bihar, will be provided with ready to eat food i.e. 1 Kg Jaggery (molasses) and 10 Kg Flattened Rice, as an immediate response.

Dry Ration: 10000 dry ration kits will be provided to the affected families in Bihar. Each kit will consist of 10 kgs Rice, 2 kgs Lentil, 1 litre Edible Oil, 1 kg Salt, 200 gms Chilli Powder & 200 gms Turmeric powder.

Household articles: 10000 relief sets will be provided in Bihar. Each set will consist of the following items:
• 1 Woolen blanket
• 1 Dhoti
• 1 Saree
• 12 pcs. of Aluminum Utensils
• 1 Cotton floor mat
• 1 Bed sheet
• 4 meters of cotton (Markin) Cloth
• Plastic containers (10 litre each) for storage of water
• Cotton Wool Roll (250 gm.)
• 5 pieces of Gamcha (towel)

Plastic Sheet: 10000 pieces of plastic sheets (Size 15” x 12” of 170 GSM) will be provided to erect immediate temporary shelter for the families who have lost almost everything in the flood waters. These sheets will also provide the women with the much needed privacy during this crisis period.

Transit Shelters: CASA proposes to construct 625 transit shelters using locally available resources like bamboo, GCI sheets, bamboo mats, ropes and basic hardware materials like nails etc. in the affected areas, which will house 2500 affected families. The proposed shelter will be of dimensions 15ft x 40ft. and will have four equal compartments of 10ft x 15ft each to house four families. Therefore 625 shelters will provide accommodation for 2500 families.

Latrines: It is proposed to set up 625 field latrine units along with the transit shelters to cater to the sanitation needs of 2500 affected families. Each unit of the latrine with consist of 4 toilets, i.e. one for each family.

After the initial assessment by the senior level staff of CASA, meetings were held with the local partners and institutional heads of the partner organisations to share the assessment, formulating the response needs, operational strategies and finalization of locations for our response. The programme will be implemented directly by CASA in collaboration with local partners. The CASA Delhi headquarter will coordinate the overall operation which includes expertise in disaster response, logistics and emergency communications.

The total cost of appeal made by CASA to its donors is US $ 1.76 Million. This is however not a commitment and our response would be directly proportionate to the quantum of funds that are made available by our resource sharing partners against this initial appeal.

We will continue to maintain close contact with the Government at Central, State and Districts level and also collaborate with the State Inter Agency Group Coordination Mechanism to ensure that the relief work is undertaken meaningfully and without overlap or duplication. We look forward to close and good cooperation of all concerned in our common mission to urgently respond to the needs of the flood victims of Bihar.


For More information on CASA’s Humanitarian Assistance to Bihar Flood Victims Please visit

CASA (Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action)
Rachna Building, 2 Rajendra Place, Pusa Road,
New Delhi - 110008
Ph: (+91 11) 25730611, 25730612, 25731218,
25731219, 25761579, 25767231
Fax: 011-25752502

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03 September, 2008

Bihar Floods wiki

Amrit Hallan has begun a Bihar Floods wiki on his site. He would welcome as much help as you can give him. So if you have useful information about aid efforts in Bihar, please go register on the wiki and pitch in. You could also mail Amrit at amrit AT amrithallan DOT com.

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31 August, 2008

Bihar, India - Floods - an appeal from Goonj

Received via email.

Dear Friends,

Here is a recent picture of Bihar inundated by one of the worst floods ever in recent history. [Photo below the fold - ed.]

For many years now, GOONJ has been working extensively in Bihar through its grassroots partners, with a special focus on the annual floods.

This is an URGENT APPEAL to join GOONJ in its campaign RAHAT FLOODS to provide support to the victims of this unprecedented disaster. The situation is grim and millions of people are affected by the devastation.

With a wide network of organizations and people present in most of the affected districts we are confident of reaching relief at the earliest possible. While the dispatch of material has already started the relief efforts will continue for the next few months.

Possible options for joining this campaign

Material support-

Dry ration, Medicines, candles & matchbox, torch & batteries,
utensils, tarpaulin, feeding bottles, buckets, ropes, bedsheets, all
kind of usable clothing & footwear. (For the list of collection
centers, please log on to

Logistical support-

¨ Transport support to reach the material to effected areas
¨ Space for collection centers
¨ Facilities for local pickups,
¨ Transportation of material from different cities to GOONJ
processing centers in Delhi, Chennai & Mumbai

Needed- large quantities of

¨ Rice, Chiwra, biscuits, packed eatables
¨ Water purifier tablets
¨ Basic medicines
¨ Sarees and children clothing
¨ Tarpaulins or thick polythene
¨ Bedsheets
¨ Export surplus/ Cotton cloth for making sanitary napkins
¨ Mosquito nets
¨ Stoves, cooking and water storage utensils/buckets

Financial support-

¨ Donations in India- Please send cash/cheque/draft in the name of GOONJ and send it to
J-93, Sarita Vihar,
New Delhi- 76

(Kindly send your full name & address with the contribution for receipt/accounting purpose. (All donations to GOONJ in India are tax exempted u/s 80 G of IT act.)

¨ Overseas donation can reach us through Cheque (in the name of GOONJ with your full particulars) or by wire transfer with an information on

Rotate it (valid only for overseas donations ) through Wacovia Bank, New York swift code- 2000193008933, GOONJ, A/C No- 2591101004644

Bank- Canara Bank, H block, market Sarita Vihar, New Delhi- 76


Contact- GOONJ

H.O Delhi-J-93, Sarita Vihar, New Delhi- 76
Tel.- 011-26972351, 41401216,
GOONJ Mumbai- Mr. Rohit Singh Tel.- 9322381600,
GOONJ Chennai- Ms. Padma Tel.- 9842665320,

Do spread the word, talk to your friends & relatives, help us to organise campaigns in the offices, residential areas and schools.

With best,

Anshu Gupta (Ashoka Fellow)
Founder Director

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Hurricane Gustav Resources

Volunteers on the world wide web are getting ready to help as Hurricane Gustav gathers fury heading towards the Northern Gulf Coast. Here are some efforts:

* Gustav Information Center is up
* Follow live updates on Gustav at Twitter
* IRC channel - #interdictor to coordinate volunteer efforts
* UPDATE: Hurricane Gustav Wiki is here
* Wikipedia entry on Hurricane Gustav

Hurricane Gustav is still being described as a Category 4 storm, but meteorologists are forecasting that the storm will gain strength as it passes over Cuba and may emerge in the Gulf of Mexico as a Category 5 hurricane.
USA Today

See the full Hurricane Advisory here.

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16 May, 2008

Google LatLong: Imagery for Sichuan, China Earthquake

The Google Earth and Maps Team now has post-earthquake satellite imagery of Sichuan, China and the surrounding area. Google LatLong: Imagery for Sichuan, China Earthquake . The first scenes captured the rescue effort to assess and repair dam damage near Dujiangyan City" and were obtained from NSPO, Taiwan's national space agency. The images will be updated on a regular basis and can be viewed using Google Earth. which is free.

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15 May, 2008

The Bookworm Earthquake Relief [Chengdu, Suzhou, Beijing]

From The Bookworm (in Chengdu, Suzhou, Beijing). Please direct queries to the email address below.

From: Jenny Niven
Date: Wed, 14 May 2008 00:10:14 -0400 (EDT)

Dear friends,

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who have contacted us with their kind wishes of support for our colleagues and friends at The Bookworm Chengdu. Thankfully, everyone is safe.

The Bookworm are co-ordinating our efforts to help the people of Sichuan during this difficult time. The Bookworm Chengdu has become a focal point in assisting those groups currently providing on the ground support for those in Sichuan affected by the tragedy.

The Chinese Red Cross are currently setting up operations in affected areas. In the meantime, smaller groups are doing what they can to provide food, water, shelter and medicines.

The Bookworm are assisting these groups, until the larger organisations are able to provide support.

What you can do:

The Bookworms in Beijing, Suzhou and Chengdu will be gathering much needed emergency materials to be sent to victims of the earthquake.

As advised by the Chinese Red Cross, we are collecting emergency donations only of:


Our friends at DHL will ship all collected donations to The Bookworm Chengdu on Saturday 17th May.

For Beijing:
Please drop off all donations by
4pm on SATURDAY 17th MAY
Call Alex or Jenny on 132 6421 7462

For Suzhou:
Please drop off all donations by
4pm on SATURDAY 17th MAY
Call Pierre on 138 6210 4118

For Chengdu:
Please drop off all donations by
1pm on SUNDAY 18th MAY
Call Bronwyn on 158 2826 1084

Beyond these dates, our efforts will continue in accordance with advice from the Chinese Red Cross.

Thank you for your desperately needed support.

The Bookworm | Gongti North Road, Yard 4 | Beijing | China | Beijing | 100000 | China

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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

Series of bomb blasts in Jaipur, India

A series of between five and nine bomb blasts in Jaipur killed at least 60 people and injured at least 150 others.

The explosion off at around 7.20 and the others followed in the next 15 minutes. They were planted in the old part of the popular tourist destination in Rajasthan, a few hours drive from the capital, Delhi,

Some news reports:

High alert; experts off to Jaipur Hindustan Times
80 killed, 150 wounded in Jaipur blasts Times of India
Pink turns red Outlook
Serial blasts rock Jaipur; 60 killed India Today
60 killed, 200 injured in Jaipur blasts NDTV

8 blasts in Jaipur; 60 dead 200 injured CNN-IBN
Bombings rock Indian tourist city BBC
Seven bombs kill 60 people in India's Jaipur Reuters India
Jaipur serial blasts kill 70, injure 150 The Statesman

Since the press are providing adequate coverage, and the local authorities seem to be in control of the situation, we will not be following this story in detail. But please feel free to use the comments space if you want more info, and we'll try and help.

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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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Red Cross China calling for donations

Shanghaiist has contact details for Red Cross China, who is now calling for donations for those affected by the Sichuan earthquake.

For those who are looking to contribute to current aid efforts underway, you can now donate money to the Red Cross Society of China which has formed a disaster relief working group to be dispatched to the earthquake-stricken Wenchuan County in Sichuan.

They have also published an emergency relief hotline, along with bank account information to receive donations to assist their cause:

Account name: Red Cross Society of China

For those who want to donate in RMB: you can send money to the RMB account at the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China branch below:
人民币开户行: 中国工商银行 北京分行东四南支行
人民币账号: 0200001009014413252

For those who want to donate in foreign currency, you can send money to the foreign currency account at the CITIC Bank branch below:
外币账号: 7112111482600000209

Hotline: (8610) 65139999
Online donations: Red Cross Society of China website:
Click the tab for online donations

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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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Death Toll Mounting - China

Times Online reports 5000 feared dead and 10000 injured. 900 young students are buried under debris. CNN reports 7000 feared dead.

UPDATE: some fear toll is 8500. Others fear 13000 already.

Up to 5,000 people were reported to have been killed in a single Chinese county today after a major earthquake struck a densely populated area of in the southwestern province of Sichuan.

The quake, with a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale, flattened schools, offices and houses in Sichuan, and caused widespread damage in nearby Gansu and Yunnan as well as the sprawling municipality of Chongqing. The tremor was felt in cities across southeast Asia as far as Bangkok, more than 1,200 miles from the epicentre.

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Update (1) from China Earthquake Administration, Request for Sat Imagery

The following situational updates have come in from the Director (Mr Huang Jianfa) & Deputy Director (Ms. Hong Chen) of the CEA (China Earthquake Administration):

The communication and the transportation in the affected area have been interrupted. National disaster assessment teams and the national USAR team (CISAR), plus local USAR teams and other relief teams are moving to the affected area. Up to now, we are still in the stage of disaster information collection.

  1. Communications with the earthquake affected area are cut off so information is hard to come by.
  2. The area is quite mountainous with land lying at up to 3000 metres high so it is not as highly populated as other areas.
  3. The main small town that they are concerned about and which they have no contact with yet is Wenchuan which has a population of 100,000 people and is approximately 30 km from the epicentre.
  4. First reports from Chengdu are reassuring that there is not extensive damage.

Thanks to all of you who are paying attentions. We will provide further information when we get it.

A formal request for satellite imagery has been placed by CEA & ISAR team - SAR Ensa, to UNOSAT & other mapping agencies, however, at this moment the UNOSAT charter (GLIDE# EQ-2008-000062-CHN ) has not been activated yet. The CEA can be contacted via it's Deputy Director - Ms. Hong, on chenh AT or phone +86 13911732010

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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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Updates coming in

Most reports are of high-rise buildings being evacuated in Beijing and Shanghai and not much news coming out of Sichuan Province. Times Now has images of buildings being evacuated in Beijing which is almost 1000 km away from the Sichuan province. The buildings swayed for about two minutes. [I got this image off TV]

More pictures here and here.

No damages are being reported yet. Telephone lines are disrupted in the Sichuan region. The region is primarily agricultural, a mountaneous region, and is populated by Tibetans and Chinese - a total of 10 million people.

No tsunami warning by Japan's meteorological department.

Here's a video of the tremor felt in Beijing by Michelle Christensen.

Check out @Scobleizer on twitter for latest news - he's done a good job of collating the news as it broke.

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Thailand feels tremors ; aftershocks in the region

Report from in Australia:

Tall buildings shook in the Thai capital Bangkok, and tremors were also felt in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam.

High buildings in Bangkok were continuing to sway seven minutes after the first movements were felt.

The Hindu reports there were 4 aftershocks felt in the region:

A spokesman for China's Earthquake Administration confirmed the earthquake, but said it had a 7.3 magnitude. There were no reports of anyone hurt so far, he said, and the area is sparsely populated.

There were four aftershocks in the region, ranging from 5.0 to 5.2 magnitude, according to a notice on the Earthquake Administration's Web site.

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Maps of Earthquake in China

From the USGS website:

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Earthquake in China - Breaking News

From Reuters:

BEIJING (Reuters) - An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 struck China's Sichuan province on Monday, less than 100 km (60 miles) from the provincial capital of Chengdu, the U.S. Geological Survey said on its Web site.

The tremor, centered 92 km northwest of Chengdu, was felt as far away as Beijing and Shanghai, where office buildings swayed with the impact.

BBC News says:

An earthquake measuring 7.8 has hit south-west China, according to the US Geological Survey. Reports said tremors could be felt as far afield as the Thai capital, Bangkok, and Hanoi in Vietnam. The quake struck 57 miles (92km) north-west of Sichuan's provincial capital, Chengdu, at 1428 (0628 GMT), the survey said on its website.

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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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