Over the course of ten hours, a few days ago, Cyclone Nargis moved up
the Irawaddy Delta and northeastward through Myanmar. Entire villages have been flooded and blown flat. Packing winds of
up to 150 miles per hour when it struck Yangon,
Myanmar’s largest city of about 6.5 million residents, the storm dumped 20
inches of rain on the city (which was called Rangoon during British colonial times).
Thousands, probably more than ten thousand, have died, and hundreds of
thousands are without basic necessities (as reported by Scientific
American online in "At Least 10,000 Likely Dead From Myanmar Cyclone,"
The military junta has tentatively welcomed offers of international
aid. But there are details still to be worked out in terms of access. Infrastructure for delivery of aid, rudimentary though
it was, has largely been destroyed. Additionally, the government is still insisting on limitations of access by foreign relief workers. There is definitely a crisis not only in terms of need but of governance as well.
In a best case scenario, this may provide a window of opportunity for
hope and peaceful change. Let’s pray for some light to peek from
behind the cloud.
No matter what your faith,
Pray for response, pray for hope, pray for change
(May 6, 2008):
Myanmar government has said that the cyclone that struck the south-east
Asian nation this weekend has killed 10,000 people. . . .
of thousands of people are homeless and without clean drinking water, a
UN official has said and aid agencies have called on Myanmar’s military
government to allow free movement so help can be given to victims of
experts said it could be days before the extent of the damage is known
because of the government’s tight control of communications.
* * *
are not accessible and many small villages were hit and will take time
to reach," Terje Skavdal, the regional head of UNOCHA [UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs], said.
of foreign aid workers were trying to assess the damage and aid needs,
but their access and movements are restricted by the military.
is the existing situation for international staff. The way most
agencies work is they use national staff who have more freedom to
move," Skavdal said.
"We will have a dialogue with the government to try to get access to the people affected," he added. . . . "