By Maurice McQuillan, northern Myanmar
We have all seen the press coverage about Myanmar moving down the road towards democracy. Aung San Suu Kyi has been released from house arrest and has been elected to the national assembly, while US President Obama recently visited the country.
Behind the headlines, the slow process of democratisation continues.
However, not so well known is the fact that ethnic conflict continues unabated in Myanmar’s more remote border regions. People in the Kachin State, in the north of Myanmar along the Chinese border, are caught in the crossfire of an ongoing conflict.
A ceasefire agreement that had been in effect for 17 years was broken on 9 June 2011, leading to a state of war between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the army of the Government of Myanmar.
Over 85,000 civilians have lost their homes and livelihoods and are now scattered across the region in makeshift jungle dwellings […]
It was one of the deadliest cyclones in history. In May 2008, a storm powerful enough to blow away hundreds of thousands of houses hit Myanmar. Along with the resulting tidal surge it led to the deaths of 140,000 people.
One of the main problems for aid agencies wanting to help the people of Myanmar in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis was gaining access to the flooded communities.
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Caritas’s grassroots organisations along with the local Church were already there living as part of the communities that became isolated. This meant that they had not only easy access to assess people’s needs and deliver aid but their help was welcomed by villagers.
Jamie Isbister, who worked on the crisis for Caritas, said at the time, “Local church representatives enjoy a high level of trust among the affected population: they speak the local languages and dialects, have an intimate knowledge and thorough […]
Caritas says more needs to be done to help the survivors of a deadly cyclone in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) nearly two years ago.
Cyclone Nargis devastated the Irrawaddy Delta in May 2008. The storm killed nearly 140,000 people and left 2.4 million homeless. Nearly half a million people there don’t have a place to call home 20 months later.
In a message to Caritas supporters for Lent, Archbishop Charles Bo of Yangon said, “May this season, bringing hope of resurrection to our people in the delta, the widows who lost their families, the homeless that wait by the wayside, for those without livelihoods. Lent brings the message that every Good Friday ends with the hope of Easter. The suffocating long night will one day end with a bright dawn.”
Caritas raised US $6.3 million (4.6 million) from 37 members, other aid agencies, and private donations. Caritas worked through 116 international […]
2008 saw tragic scenes in Myanmar, India, Nepal, the Caribbean and Honduras as storms killed thousands. Caritas relief efforts provided food, shelter, medicine and compassion as it appealed for US $77 million worldwide in 2008 in 40 separate appeals.
In May, Cyclone Nargis hit the Irrawaddy Delta in Myanmar (also known as Burma), leaving 134,000 people dead or missing.
Caritas made use of existing Church structures to deliver desperately needed aid to over 26,000 people within weeks of the disaster.
Caritas has supplied over 100,000 people with basic food staples, around 40,000 people with non-food items such as blankets and mosquito nets, and thousands of other families with household hygiene and sanitation kits.
Just days after the cyclone hit, Archbishop Charles Bo of Yangon visited the worst affected area. He sent a series of reports.
3 May: The magnitude of devastation overwhelms a poor country like ours. Thousands are in need of urgent medical […]
One year on from Cylcone Nargis which took the lives of more than 140,000people and left more than two million people without homes, the Caritas network continues to bring dignity to those affected.
Caritas has supplied over 100,000 people with basic food staples, around 40,000 people with non food items such as blankets and mosquito nets and thousands of other families with household hygiene and sanitation kits.
Yangon’s Archbishop Charles Bo, leading the local response, says the Church’s greatest achievement has been its ability to provide support to the most vulnerable people affected by the cyclone.
“Our intervention is targeted to the villages and places neglected by others. Our flexibility has been our strength.”
Archbishop Bo, thanked the world and particularly the Catholic community who have given so generously to support the people of Myanmar (Burma) in their moment of need but impelled them not to forget those affected over the following years […]
As the number of those affected by the devastating cyclone in Myanmar continues to rise, Caritas agencies are seeking ways to respond through local Church partners.
With more than 78,000 dead with 56,000 missing and two million affected, the need to respond is immediate and vast.
Caritas President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez said, “People in Myanmar are facing a terrible humanitarian crisis. The message of our global network to them is that they are not alone. Messages of support have flooded into our offices from around the world.
“The Burmese should know that we are doing everything we can to ensure international aid efforts get through. So far we are receiving very positive messages from the Myanmar government on their need for international help. We hope this will allow non-governmental organisations such as ourselves access into the affected areas.”
Caritas has assembled an initial team drawing on staff from across the memberships with a strong representation […]
Caritas says that 80,000 people have received some form of assistance through its relief operations following the deadly cyclone that hit Myanmar 2-3 May, 2008.
Over 7 million people lived in the area affected by Cyclone Nargis. The latest figures put the death toll at 84,537 people, with the number of missing at 53,836 people. Approximately 2.4 million people were directly affected by the cyclone. At least 1.4 million people lost their homes.
Caritas Internationalis is coordinating relief efforts of its 162 member organisations. Caritas has reached survivors of the storm in Yangon, Pathein, Bogale, Amar and Dedaya with food, clothing, bedding, and provided access to clean water and sanitation.
At least 5000 people have received 50kg bags or rice and 8,500 mosquito nets have been been handed out among other items.
“With the ensured the support of all of you, we are resolute in making the lives of the people more dignified […]
By Tim O’Connor
Saturday, 2 August 2008 marks the three month anniversary of cyclone Nargis. And despite the difficulties, Caritas’ immediate response, through the Church and other partners in Myanmar, has saved many lives and brought urgent relief to 82,700 children, women and men.
Mr Jamie Isbister, adviser to the Caritas response in Myanmar said: “Despite the immense difficulties in accessing the affected areas, in working in Myanmar and in harnessing and training people on the ground to assist the recovery efforts, we have exceeded our initial targets in reaching affected populations. At least 82,700 people have been directly assisted with supplies of food, clean water, temporary shelter and other essential items. We have striven – and succeeded – in responding in a manner true to the Caritas spirit of respecting people’s dignity at this horrendous time.”
Through local partners, particularly the Catholic Church and other networks, Caritas has established the necessary systems […]
Cyclone Nargis hit the Ayeyarwady Delta region of Myanmar (also known as Burma) on 2 May 2008, causing death and destruction beyond anything experienced there before.
While the majority of people have received some assistance, very few have received enough to get them through until the next harvest and almost no one has received enough to enable them to rebuild their lives.
Caritas Internationalis is appealing for US $ 3,473,383.00 (€ 2,480,978.00) to support the efforts of the people of the Ayeyarwady Delta to recover fully from the devastation and to be better able to cope with disasters in the future.
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The assessments of the international relief operation have been mixed, but the disease and starvation anticipated by some relief agencies have been avoided.
The international response was curtailed by government restrictions on international personnel entering the country and accessing the affected areas. This partly explains the deficit in international government […]