Card Bo: The Church’s response to the pandemic in Myanmar
For the archbishop of Yangon, the health crisis is a challenge for humanity. The coronavirus outbreak is worsening in the country, and the national healthcare system is in serious trouble. The Catholic community is helping the needy with food aid and preventive actions, whilst churches and seminaries have been offered as quarantine centres. The prelate calls for a cease-fire in conflict zones.
Yangon (AsiaNews) – Together with Malaysia, Myanmar has become the new hot spot of the coronavirus emergency. Yesterday 41 deaths were reported in the country, for a total of 412: a month ago there were seven.
In Southeast Asia, only Indonesia and the Philippines fare worse. Overall, about 17,800 cases have been recorded in the former Burma. The country has one of the worst healthcare systems in the world.
As Archbishop Card Charles Bo of Yangon notes, the local Church has contributed to helping the population. His address follows. Courtesy of the Salesian Bosco Link.
Dear Friends, Benefactors and Well-wishers,
I am sending this brief report of Myanmar Church’s response to the ravages of COVID.
COVID has thrown a challenge to humanity. As the Pope constantly reminds us ‘we are all together in this.’ We are grateful to the global solidarity emerging among people of the world. COVID was merciful to us till August second week, with just 400 cases and 10 deaths.
From August 16, Myanmar has been gripped by a virulent surge of the virus. The country is desperately trying to flatten the spread. As of today, the virus is on an exponential spread with 15,000 people infected and around 400 dead. The country's health system is overwhelmed.
During these challenges, Myanmar church has balanced safety with solidarity. In the first phase from March to August, the church responded with the following programs benefitting thousands:
- Preventive sensitization in the vulnerable areas, the supply of PPEs
- Food delivery to the starving population, support to most vulnerable groups
- The offer of our Major Seminary as a quarantine centre
- Advocacy for non-discrimination in service delivery, the ceasefire in conflict areas.
The second phase hit us from August 16, forcing a strict lockdown impacting food and survival of thousands. The Church has responded with upscaling our response with the following plans:
- . Food security to the most affected, starting with the 1000 families for three months
- Motivating Christian community to support the poor feeding to at least 50 families in each parish
- Continued preventive support – sensitization and supply of preventive pieces of equipment
- Offering church facilities for quarantine set up – seminaries, if needed even churches
- Collaborating with the government in reaching out to the vulnerable communities
- National and global contingency fund raising.
- Continued Advocacy for peace, integrated approach among various stakeholders.
- Establishing the online pastoral presence and online Counseling Centre
We continue to be grateful to our friends all over the world for your accompaniment with prayers and other supports.
With Assurance of our Prayers,
Charles Cardinal Bo