05/14/2008, 00.00
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Burmese dioceses setting up camps for people displaced by cyclone Nargis

The Burmese Church continues its post-cyclone rescue work. In Pathein, the local bishop has set up two camps for survivors and organised volunteer medical teams. The military is “stealing” the little foreign assistance allowed to trickle into the country as emergency food aid. Anyone who wants to help the PIME solidarity campaign can do so by following instructions at the bottom of the article.

Yangon (AsiaNews) – Myanmar’s Catholic Church is continuing its work helping people displaced by cyclone Nargis, whilst the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) has started a campaign in favour of the stricken country called “Sanamu Mieta” (Sympathy and Love). The diocese in the affected areas of Yangon Mawlamyine and Pathein have organised rescue groups and parishes have set up refugee camps. Sources inside the Burmese Church have reported that at least a hundred Catholics lost their lives in the dioceses of Yangon and Pathein respectively.

In the latter the bishop, Mgr John Hsane Hgyi, set up a team that is touring the area looking for survivors and bringing them to two camps set up in the parish compounds of Kanazogon and Myaungmya.

“We provide them with food and medicines. And so far we have reached a thousand people,” a local source said. “Our next goal is to set up two teams of medical volunteers who can go into the diocese and help out in the most urgent cases like people who are dying of hunger, cholera and dysentery, especially the children and the weakest.”

The archdiocese of Yangon has for its part created the Myanmar Disaster Relief Committee with representatives from the victims, parishes and donors.

By contrast the military junta has closed off the cyclone-affected area to all foreigners and non-residents alike, making any meaningful intervention impossible.

In the meantime the humanitarian situation is getting worse. Unofficially the death toll now stands at 200,000 but foreign aid is stuck at the border waiting for permits from Myanmar authorities and whatever aid that gets through is being stolen by the army.

The United Nations announced that it has been able to reach only 270,000 of the 1.5 million who need help.

Agence France Press has reported that soldiers are deceitfully taking good quality food like high-energy biscuits from the World Food Programme and replacing them with lower quality biscuits from the Interior Ministry.

The good food is probably ending up on the black market or is feeding the army.

Making matter worse the UN World Meteorological Organisation has issued an ominous warning about a tropical storm developing near Myanmar which might throw another cyclone at the country.




You too can contribute to the solidarity campaign by making a donation in any one of the following ways (Please, write the reference S-108 - Emergency Myanmar)

1. Online Credit Card Payment in Italian (Visa, Cartasì, Mastercard)

2. Cash: directly at Aiuto Missioni – PIME, in via Mosè Bianchi, 94 - 20149 Milano (Italy), tel.: (+39) 02/438221.

3. Bank Cheque or Draft: made out to PIMEdit Onlus, via Mosè Bianchi, 94 - 20149 Milano

4. Post Office Account: n. 39208202 made out to PIMEdit Onlus, via Mosè Bianchi, 94 20149 Milano (Italy)

5. Post Office Money Order: sent to PIMEdit Onlus, via Mosè Bianchi, 94 20149 Milano (Italy)

6. Bank Transfer: made out to PIMEdit Onlus, Credito Artigiano - P.zza San Fedele, 4 - 20121 MILANO - IBAN IT 10 N 03512 01601 000000005733. (ABI 3512 CAB 01601 CIN N) Please, confirm bank transfer by phone at (+39) 02/4695193 or e-mail at uam@pimemilano.com, writing name and address if you want a receipt for tax deduction purposes

7. Credit Card (Visa, Cartasì, Mastercard) by phone at (+39) 02/438221

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See also
Burmese junta should answer for crimes against humanity concerning cyclone victims
People of Burma call for democracy and religious freedom
10 million dollars in UN aid “disappear” thanks to Burmese Junta’s exchange rates
Burmese junta blocks flight of desperate
Archbishop of Yangon: Emergency continues, let in foreign aid


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