A relase from WORD & DEED – MYANMAR/BURMA –
With an estimated 32,000 people dead and fears that the number could rise to 100,000 with a further 1.5 million at risk, the world’s eyes are fixed on the repressive government of Burma (Myanmar). While UN emergency relief was recently given permission to land, the supplies were seized by authorities there. The United States has been able to bring in one plane load and has permission to bring two more. Only a small fraction of the aid that is needed is getting through. Word & Deed has been in touch with various Christian organizations to see if we can partner with them in bringing much needed relief and development to the victims of this horrible disaster. One potential partner involves Woord en Daad and Zoa Refugee Care (both in the Netherlands). Zoa has an experienced disaster relief couple in Rangoon, the capital of Burma, who have been given permission by the government to set up a relief office and hire workers. The couple is currently in the rural areas most affected by the cyclone doing a needs assessment.
All aid however is contingent on the cooperation of the Burmese government. There is also serious concern about how funds may be handled in Burma. We will want to ensure that the funds go directly to the team in Rangoon rather than through the government which is notoriously corrupt.
A further complicating issue are the sanctions put in place through the UN on the country of Burma. This may restrict the types of aid that can go to Burma. We expect to get clarification on this in the near future.
The immediate needs are food, clean water and shelter. The threat of water borne disease could result in further dramatic rise in the death toll.
Word & Deed invites you to donate but asks that you designate your donation for disaster relief. While we fully expect that world pressure will force the government of Burma to cooperate with international aid efforts, we cannot support the idea of simply handing funds to the Burmese government. We will only partner with a reliable, Christian organization with people who will actually oversee the project directly in Burma. In the unlikely event that we are unable to meet these criteria in Burma, the funds will be used for other disaster relief projects – both existing and new. One example is the ongoing recovery efforts in Nicaragua (Hurricane Felix).
Pray that the Lord will use the disaster to break open the country of Burma to the Gospel and that the attempts to bring relief into this devastated country will be successful.
Please check our website for updates as well as mailing addresses (see “contact us”) or to donate on line (flags on the right of the web page). This email together with some pictures can also be seen there.
In His Service, Rick Postma
Word & Deed Ministries