UMCOR Partners Reach Cyclone Survivors with Aid
NEW YORK, May 29, 2008-The United Methodist Committee on Relief is taking part in a $5 million appeal by Action by Churches Together to help up to 1.3 million Cyclone Nargis survivors in Myanmar (Burma).
The resulting program will help the people of Myanmar recover from the devastating May 2 cyclone that has taken an estimated 100,000 lives and left at least 2 million homeless.
ACT partners have thus far been able to reach more than 100,000 people with direct aid and have established 21 assistance centers in the affected areas.
A Network of Partners
While news agencies continue to report the troubles of aid organizations gaining access to and operating in Myanmar, UMCOR partners are able to provide water, food and temporary shelter through a network of local organizations.
A total of $95,000 has been sent so far by UMCOR to its partners for immediate relief and assistance to survivors. "UMCOR relief goes directly to those in need. It is never channeled through foreign governments," said Sam Dixon, UMCOR's top executive.
"Because our partners on the ground in Myanmar have a long history of operating there, they are able to use local networks to get aid into the hands of those who need it most," explained Dixon.
Methodist Church of Lower Myanmar
UMCOR is also providing relief through the Methodist Church of Lower Myanmar. Bishop Zothan Mawia of MCLM was in the United States when Cyclone Nargis struck. Dixon was in contact with Mawia immediately after the cyclone and began working with him for the best way to provide assistance through the Methodist church there.
The Methodist Church of Lower Myanmar is providing assistance to the most vulnerable people in their area. Immediate relief efforts will focus on providing water, food, medicine and temporary shelter. Families and orphaned children will be the primary recipients of the aid. Counseling will also be offered to traumatized children.
"There is only one child with us who has not lost one or both parents," explained Myo Lin to an ACT partner about the situation of his group that was displaced by the cyclone.
"These children are traumatized. Some cannot talk about what happened yet," Lin continues. "But it is not just the children who are suffering. The eight families here have lost 12 children between them," he said describing the incredible loss of life.
How You Can Help
"United Methodists have never failed to be generous," said Dixon. "I ask that they continue this tradition of generosity in their prayers and gifts for cyclone survivors."Financial gifts can be made to UMCOR Advance #3019674, Myanmar Emergency. 100% of this and any designated gift goes to its intended project. No funds are used for UMCOR's administrative costs.