Myanmar Update: Getting Help Through

Thursday, May 08, 2008

As remote villages continue to struggle without food, water, and medicine, the death toll from the Myanmar cyclone is still climbing fast -- and the government is hindering aid organizations from sending personnel and supplies. Maureen Aung-Thwin, director of the Burma Project Southeast Asia Initiative at the Open Society Institute, checks in to update us on relief efforts and tell us the best way for us to help.


Maureen Aung-Thwin

Comments [5]

David! from NYC

UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, is a great organization. 100% of your donation goes to relief, because the admin costs come from other parts of the Methodist Church.

UMCOR does have a Myanmar relief fund established. Go to

May. 08 2008 08:40 PM

What were the NGO's she suggested?
I was thinking of giving money to my Burmese neighbors, because sometimes people from that best know how to get it there.
Years ago when there was an earthquake in Latin America (I've totally forgotten where it was) I found out through my neighbor, who was from that country, that her church was collecting coats, so I was able to donate directly to the church. I hate to say it, but I trusted her so much more than a big relief organization or the government of that country. (look at how much money our government throws away- meanwhile the bridges fall down!)

May. 08 2008 01:36 PM
Terry Milner from Manhattan

Working with local Anglican and ecumenical partners, Episcopal Relief and Development is sending funds to secure desperately needed shelter, food, water and other critical supplies for people displaced by the cyclone in Myanmar.

The URL to contribute is

May. 08 2008 11:55 AM
Lauren from Woodbury, NY

DO NOT SEND ANY MONEY OR SUPPORT to Burma/Myanmar government-supported or sanctioned organizations! Most (or all) of it will not get to the people who need it.

A coworker's family lives there, and she urged us to make sure donations only went to NGOs that have been able to access needy people.

It's a very corrupt place, where even people you expect to help, rob you blind. (Couldn't believe the stories she shared with us, and they were true.)

May. 08 2008 11:52 AM
Tom Dale Keever from New York

The military junta of Myanmar has revealed a callous disregard for the lives of its own people by its refusal to cooperate with sources of aid that they distrust for ideological reasons and deserves the international condemnation that has followed.

But while we condemen what Brian calls "this horrible government" let us remember the actions of our own current administration. In the wake of Hurrican Katrina the Cuban government, first privately and then, when they were rebuffed, publically, offered to send relief teams to aid the victims in Louisiana and Mississippi.

This was not simply a propaganda gesture. Cuba is famed in the world of international relief and medical emergency circles as the best source of expert hurricane relief. Their crack teams of well trained, highly experienced hurrican rescue workers might have saved hundreds of American lives if they had been allowed to land on our Gulf Coast. Instead our government did little or nothing to help the victims, but flew in Blackwater mercenaries to guard private property.

Any move to institute international measures to FORCE governments who are as ndifferent to the suffering of their own people as that of Myanmar to accept vital aid in emergencies must address the scandalous behavior of our own "horrible government."

May. 08 2008 11:45 AM

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