CWR Responding to Victims of Myanmar Disaster

Post a Comment » Written on May 6th, 2008     
Filed under: News
CHICAGO, IL (May 6, 2008) – Covenant World Relief (CWR) funds already have been made available to assist in relief efforts in the aftermath of Saturday’s massive cyclone that devastated large areas of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), killing more than 22,000 people with another 41,000 still missing.

The heaviest devastation centered around the area of Bogalay, where 150 mph winds destroyed all but four of the 369 homes in one village. China’s state-run news agency Xinhua estimates that half the death toll is likely to come from Bogalay.

“I have been receiving emails and calls from many Covenanters wanting to know what Covenant World Relief is doing in response to this tragedy and asking how they can help,” reports Jim Sundholm in a conversation with Covenant News Service today.

Covenant World Relief maintains funds in a reserve account with World Relief International that allows that agency to respond immediately to crises anywhere in the world, Sundholm notes. In the event of catastrophic events such as Saturday’s storm, additional funds are sought to support the Covenant World Relief response.

A special Covenant World Relief fund has been established to receive donations from Covenant congregations and individuals to aid in the relief effort. Donations should be earmarked for Myanmar Relief and sent to Covenant World Relief, 5101 N. Francisco Avenue, Chicago, IL, 60625. Donations also can be made online by credit card at Myanmar Relief.

“We are working with two partners on the ground in Myanmar as we speak,” Sundholm says, “and we have two previous partners who have expressed interest in working with us to bring assistance to the people in Myanmar.”

One large challenge is the tropical terrain – and how relief workers will be able to traverse the harsh environment to reach victims where few roads are available – and those that are available are clogged with massive debris.

Other concerns include the lack of food and water and appropriate sanitation, which could trigger a health-related crisis, making it imperative that aid workers are allowed to reach the area as quickly as possible. As of this afternoon (Monday), international aid groups were still waiting for the Myanmar government’s approval to enter the country.

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