Church Times: Burmese clerics tell of relief struggle in cyclone aftermath

The Archbishop of Burma and a Burmese priest who is visiting the UK have described the devastation wrought by Cyclone Nargis in their country. One aid worker called the scene he found there a “nuclear landscape”.

In a statement issued on Monday, the Archbishop of Myanmar, the Most Revd Stephen Than Myint Oo, said that the official number of deaths was 78,000, and more than 56,000 were counted as missing. Aid agencies estimate that deaths are nearer to 128,000, and the UN says that 2.4 million people are in grave need of aid.

The Archbishop said that the Church had formed a relief committee and had sent four teams to the affected areas. “In some places, entire villages have been devastated, with few if any survivors. In other places, survivors have huddled together in makeshift shelters awaiting aid.

“Travel in that area is very difficult, and villages are often in very isolated and remote areas, accessible only by boat. The overall situation is still relatively fluid, with government policy shifting in response to new developments.”

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Asia, Myanmar/Burma

2 comments on “Church Times: Burmese clerics tell of relief struggle in cyclone aftermath

  1. New Reformation Advocate says:

    I’m glad to see this terrible crisis getting renewed attention since the devastating cyclone hit at the beginning of the month. I’m also glad that the Church Times article uses the name “Burma.” The wicked and brutally oppressive regime now ruling the country changed the name to “Myanmar.” And while the small, struggling Anglican Province there has adopted the name, it is probably by virtual force. The military junta doesn’t tolerate dissent, and they have to choose their battles. The Bush Administration and the U.K. government rightly refuse to recognize that tyrannical and illegitimate government, and as a sign of protest continue to call the country Burma. I think we should do the same.

    But that’s minor. This is a great chance for Christians to make a real difference and a powerful witness of compassion in a country that’s overwhelmingly Buddhist (something like 95% of the population claims to be Buddhist; Christians, primarily among the Karen people, are around 4%). ++Stephen Than Myint Oo only became the primate early this year. What a baptism by fire, at the start of his tenure. But he has written a marvelous letter about this terrible catastrophe. May our God of inifinite power and resources sustain him and his tiny church in this time of calamity. But also, may the whole Body of Christ around the world, and especially the wider Anglican Communion, reach out to embrace and support our brothers and sisters in Burma during their time of desperate need. Burma is one of the most politically isolated countries in the world. Our fellow Christians there need to know that they are not alone in this overwhelming crisis.

    David Handy+

  2. mark_08 says:

    Thanks for posting this. I spent a few weeks in that part of Burma/Myanmar a year ago talking to dollar-a-day farming families, many of whom I presume are now tragically gone.

    Can someone help me understand why there’s no Anglican channel for funneling aid? Besides the UK charities mentioned in the article, I know that WorldVision has a large presence, and International Development Enterprises is doing fantastic work with rural farmers. So that’s all good– but how is it we can’t support the church there? Or is there a missions channel that we should know about?