SITUATION: 22,464 people have now been confirmed dead and another 41,054 people are missing as a result of Cyclone Nargis which struck Myanmar on Saturday, May 3. Up to a million people are thought to have been left homeless. These numbers are expected to increase as currently cut-off rural areas are reached. BBC News reports three-quarters of structures in the Irrawaddy region were destroyed by fierce winds, rain and storm surge. A United Nations relief worker in Yangon tells the Associated Press villages in the Irrawaddy Delta have been completely flattened.
James Vijayakumar, Global Ministries Executive for Southern Asia has spoken with Rev. Mar Gay Gyi, General Secretary of the Myanmar Council of Churches and Skip Dangers, Church World Service Asia Representative and pledged full UCC support of relief and recovery efforts. Rev. Gay Gyi reports profiteering is already starting to grip those coping in the storm's aftermath, with prices on food, fuel and building supplies shooting up 300 percent. Communication abilities throughout Myanmar have been compromised..
UCC/CWS RESPONSE: Immediate relief operations are underway with a comprehensive assessment on-going. Immediate grants of $10,000 from the One Great Hour of Sharing/International Emergency fund have been forwarded. The Myanmar Cyclone Fund, a special OGHS disaster appeal with a goal of $100,000, has been opened. In coming days this initial appeal may be expanded to reflect needed support for longer-term recovery efforts of the Myanmar Council of Churches and its members.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
1. Pray for the people of Myanmar impacted by Cyclone Nargis and for the Myanmar Council of Churches.
2. Make a donation to the Myanmar Cyclone Fund. Gifts may be made through your local congregation, or sent directly to:
Wider Church Ministries; 700 Prospect Ave.; Cleveland, OH 44115. Please be certain to indicate your donation is for the Myanmar Cyclone Fund.
3. Secure donations may be made on-line. GIVE NOW