It has been a roller coaster week with a lot of mix emotions, but I hope you would all agree that we have done our best to provide emergency food aid to Myanmar cyclone victims in the past four desperate weeks. In addition to (1) distributing emergency aid, in the coming weeks we will be expanding our operations into (2) rebuilding (building budget huts) and (3) restoring lives (helping families and children)
1. Distributing aid
We are continuing with our emergency aid operation, and we still need all the help we can get. We will continue to collect food, clothes and medicine and ship all the collected supplies to Myanmar. We collected a lot of clothes, shoes and medicine from Bangkok donors (SVC Asia Co., Ltd, UNESCAP families, Bangkok Brazilian Community) and made two shipments to Yangon last week.
2. Rebuilding (building budget huts)
After talking to numerous victims by our volunteers, most of the victims want to rebuild their lives. But houses being wiped out, crop and boats destroyed, equipments lost, it is hard to get back to their lives. We URGENTLY need to rebuild the houses in order for them to return to their farms. For the current and following year, they must start the harvesting cycle now.
We decided to first focus on a village, which had lost about 400 people and now left with about 100 survivors. This village is only accessible by boat, and one of the worst hit areas about 5 hours by boat from Latt Putta. There are about 30-40 women and some children who have been displaced and staying in Lattbutta area while the men will get back to the village to rebuild their houses. The houses will be built using Bamboo for the frame and Da-Neet or Tarpaulin for the roof. All the men agreed to stay at the village until they are comfortable to bring their families home.
Each hut is about 20 x 15 feet with attached kitchen and good for 12 people. Cost of each hut is about US $170. We allocated US $ 4000 yesterday for Group 4 (hut building group) to rebuild the huts. At the moment Group 4 is arranging supplies from near by towns. Getting there alone is quite an adventure and takes about one day because they have to watch the tide condition.
3. Restoring lives (helping the families and children)
The cyclone destroyed a lot of roads, bridges and houses but most of all - families. A lot of children are left orphans and their fates uncertain. We will need to help these families especially those with young children. Sometimes, for some families the situation is life and death and for some is to get back to their status quo. In any case we will try and help them restore their lives.
For the children that lost their parents, we’ve learned that it is best for the children to be cared by their relatives other than the orphanage. With this in mind, we will try to help the families and vulnerable children buy providing with their day to day essential needs.
From various sources, we have learned that there are about 3000-5000 orphans left behind by this cyclone. We can’t confirm this large numbers but we know a few places where there are about 200-300 kids. Not every one has a relative or village to go back to so they must be placed under good care. We must support the orphanages or build one to protect our vulnerable children.
Every dollar, every minutes count and together we can make a difference. We hope you would all agree and support any one of our plans. All suggestions and comments are most welcome. Please also see our action at "Donation and Distribution Report".
Saturday, May 31, 2008
It has been a roller coaster week with a lot of mix emotions, but I hope you would all agree that we have done our best to provide emergency food aid to Myanmar cyclone victims in the past four desperate weeks. In addition to (1) distributing emergency aid, in the coming weeks we will be expanding our operations into (2) rebuilding (building budget huts) and (3) restoring lives (helping families and children)
Friday, May 30, 2008
Hut Building Group has gone to Labutta, and they have just called in and informed us that they have started the building process at a small village, only reachable by boat, near Labutta. They are the first aid group to arrive in the area. Naturally, the villagers are so happy to see aid relief finally arriving. They said, no one has been there before. The group has already started rebuilding this village.
The villagers there have already begun building huts with whatever supplies and materials they had. The unfinished huts are small, for single families. So, the cost of these small huts are not the same as in the original plan - which called for large multi-family huts. And for this village, since the huts are half-finished, the group only needed to supply them with materials that the villagers could not get on their own. Approximately $1600 will be needed to procure those materials. This will cover 32 small huts for 100 people. MOEGYO has funded this with your donations.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Some cars were stopped yesterday evening and they were eventually let go after their wheel tags were registered. Recently, there have been some cars distributing some flyers to the by-standers on the road. I don't know how effective passing out those flyers were, but now donations are being frowned upon, again... So, some people who plan to go out today cancelled their trip. Everyone is waiting to see what is the real situation.
"The following is the translation of the latest blog entry from Nyi Lynn Seck titled "Budget Huts Plan". NLS has agreed to post it on MOEGYO blog. It's a good recount of an aid worker's experience and his on-ground thinking. The original blog entry is at http://nyilynnseck.blogspot.com/2008/05/budjet-hut-plan.html. MOEGYO is contributing funds for this plan. "
Budget Huts Plan:
From now on, we plan to build affordable huts for survivors of the cyclone, rather than giving them food and clothes. When we ask them what they need most, they tell us that they most urgently need housing and want to return to their farms.Out of a population of 500, one village has only 100 survivors left. About 30-40 are women. Most of the female survivors we met, don't want to return to the disaster areas yet, the place of their grief. Most of the men want to return even if authorities forbid them.
There are 2 kinds of cyclone victims - those who have reached the city and others who have not bothered to make it to the city. Everyone you meet in the cities aren't victims and every victim is not yet in the cities.We meet the real suffering victims upon travelling to the villages. Some villages have received aid from planes but it is not enough. Some villages are still not accessible due to the road conditions. These victims grew up and made their living on the rivers and lakes, therefore they don't seem overly worried about food. So long as there are rivers, finding fish and shrimps are not difficult. They are mostly worried about not being able to return to farming. They have to remove the salt water from the farmlands which were overswept by the rising tides. They then have to plow the soil. To do all that work, they first need a place to stay with a roof over their heads.
Building a house had its own obstacles.
- One was transportation. Some seaside villages require about five hours to get to by normal boats. Since many boats drowned during the cyclone, there are not enough boats to go around. It would be costly to permanently rent a boat. The first village that we built huts for - had a boat fortunately, and we only had to pay for fuel.
- Second obstacle was getting bamboo. The cyclone devastated many bamboo forests. Therefore, bamboo was hard to find. The distance of bamboo (from the village) would bring up the cost. The reason for choosing bamboo over wood will be explained later.
- Third obstacle was general use items. These are now very expensive in affected areas, so we are having to transport them from Yangon.
The huts we built are not for single family use. Our discussions with the survivors tell us that they do not want to move whole families back to the village. Their plan is for the men to return first, a village's men will form and work together on a community farmland of 10-15 acres (they used to work on hundreds of acres on their own before), and they will continue to expand and grown on this year's crop. I look at them and I get goosebumps. Even in such disaster, they are forming long-term plans, why can't we plan long-term too? So, we discussed with them and they told us that they want to live together in group-houses, not one-family-one-house yet.
They won't live in these group-houses forever. But about 3 years for sure. After that, they will try to build separate houses. We therefore agreed upon building affordable huts for 2-3 year living.
Our budget huts are 20 x 15 feet. A kitchen of about 6x6 feet is attached. Hut will be built using bamboo. Tarpaulin <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarpaulin> will be used for roofs and covers.
Some are asking why "da-neet" is not used.
- The reason is simple, many houses in these areas had their roofs redone with new batches of da-neet for the upcoming monsoon season - just before the cyclone hit. Thus, da-neet leaves that are growing now are fresh and still not hard enough to use for housing.
- Second reason is lots of women who used to make living as da-neet weavers have perished in the disaster, thus there's nobody to weave da-neet. So, tarpaulin - a bit more more expensive, but faster, easier and workable - was substituted.
Reason for using bamboo instead of wood is that wood is more expensive and hard to transport. Even if wood was donated from Yangon, it'd be difficult to first transport wood to Laputta, then to villages that need it. These victims don't have any money. Any matter that would unnecessarily complicate their minds should be avoided.
We call such huts 3x2 and 1-attached. Meaning there're six small rooms in a hut (with an attachment). One room is big enough to comfortably house 2 persons. A hut can house 12 people. Building five huts cost about 1,000,000 kyats ($850). A hut costs 200,000 kyats ($170) and one person's cost will be about 20,000 kyats ($17). These are actually really affordable housing.
These are more necessary now than big permanent houses (taking months to build) for them. The villagers can build the huts themselves. We provide the meals while they are building. By having them take part in building these huts, they also get a sense of contribution and understand that not everything can be given to them as gifts. After such huts are built, we will work together with other related NGOs to arrange sanitation and water.
The cyclone took many lives. However much they are controlling their emotions, they have suffered much emotionally. Parents, siblings, spouses perished right in front of their eyes. We cannot feel we have done our jobs just by returning their lives to normal. We have to work and help them achieve something extra out of their losses. If their sanitation was not proper before, and it remains unchanged now - that'd mean surviving this ordeal didn't make any change in their lives. Nothing improved. We need to help them improve their state of mind, living standards and education. That's the only way their surviving of the cyclone would make any sense.
In other countries, there exist groups which console and help the victims. Why don't we have such groups? I'm saddened by this fact.There're about 100,000 displaced refugees. If we built such "budget huts" for every one of them, the bill will amount to 2 billion kyats. Our funds are minute compared to that huge number. But we will build as many huts as we can afford. If you wish to donate huts, you can calculate based on the information above, and donate for x number of villages, x number of huts, and so on. You don't have to send it though us either. Anyone can go down to these villages and analyze the on-ground requirements, and make useful contributions to help the victims.
It has been a busy two weeks in the AU front.
With a lot of different Burmese (Myanmar) groups already putting efforts within the Burmese (Myanmar) community, I went outside the community for fund raising. It was a great opportunity for most of my friends who were wanting to help, but could not find a way to help directly or quickly. On 12th May one of them said "I sent a $500 donation to your account tonight for assistance in Burma. All the best with it and thank you for helping organise a means of contributing when it is so difficult to do it via other channels."
A total of $3950 was collected over the two weeks period. Of the $3950:-
1. $2323 was sent to Moegyo team member in Burma.
2. $997 was spent purchasing -
100 x 75g Savlon Antiseptic Cream, and
50 x 1L Hydralyte drink bottles.
3. The balance is held by myself.
I am looking to organise fund raising dinners and events. Watch this space for further updates on these.
Collection of Supplies:
I approached Fuji Xerox Australia - the organisation I work for to do clothing and supplies collection within Fuji Xerox sites. Management agreed - as long as I can organise for someone to manage each site. At the moment we have 2 sites (out of 7 in Sydney) - managed by myself and a Burmese colleague for the collection. I am working on recruiting some colleagues to manage two other sites. The company has also donated cardboard boxes to use for packaging / shipping. (The total weight of the boxes came to approx. 800kg).
I also reached out to church going friends to help with collecting clothes and supplies. To date 2 churches (a Chinese Church and an Indonesian Church) have donated clothing and supplies which made up 1/2 of what we have collected so far.
Kensington ABC Childcare (a branch of the largest Childcare Centre chain in AU) where my wife works also helped out with collecting clothes and supplies. 1/4 of clothing collected to date came from this childcare centre. Last week, I sent several fliers printed in colour with photos taken from MOEGYO site to the director of this childcare centre - and now five ABC Childcare Centres within Sydney have those fliers posted and are helping out with the collection!
Also, I approached my daughters' primary school and one other primary school. Both Principals kindly agreed to do collection for us at their schools this coming week. I will approach another one this week.
My younger brother is also helping out with fund raising as well as clothing, food and medical supplies collection within his circle of friends.
As the result, we were busy over this weekend collecting various donations around Sydney. By Sunday afternoon, estimated 10 cubic metre of clothing, food and medical supplies were collected (as well as some buckets of nails weighing around 30kg). To put in perceptive, 10 cubic metre is a little over 1/7 of the 12 metre long shipping container with inside capacity of 67 cubic metre. The supplies collected were donated on behalf of MOEGYO to Burmese Community in Sydney.
I am expecting another round of collection next Friday. With the growing donation base, I am asking people to bring their donation to designated collection points to save us having to run around. Even with that, the area we need to cover will be quite large. I have recruited my brother and some of our friends to help out with the collection and sorting of the articles.
That's it for now. I will try to do weekly updates from now on.
One of our fellow groups shared the information with us:
I hope you don't mind me responding again, from my child protection experience. In Myanmar it is so difficult to avoid putting children in institutions because infrastructure is so weak. I used to work with street children (in Myanmar) and we struggled with this issue all the time.
However, again, please encourage people - whoever is going to the affected areas or delivering aid.
They should encourage families to keep their children with them, even though it is hard to feed them and they (the families) think that orphanages (or other people who offer to take care of their babies) may be able to help. Families are the best people to take care of children. Orphanages all round the world, and including in Myanmar, often have children who are not true or 'double orphans' but have a family member living. Due to the pressure to educate and feed their children parents and families put their children in institutions.
I believe that the monastic system, and also the many other religious groups - like the Christian groups, do an amazing job to take care of the poor, and especially children. There are a number of agencies, international and local, who work on this issues and for any long term support any institution should contact them. If people are providing funding, remind them that it is difficult to sustain support over the long term (you have to take care of those children for the next 18 years!)
So some messages (given in encouragement):
Encourage families to keep their children with them. Encourage people who are giving aid to prioritise and take into account those families who are taking care of extra children (including orphans).
Encourage people to be careful of allowing children in their community to go with individuals they don't know (I know from colleagues in Myanmar that traffickers are operating).
Encourage those wishing to start up institutions to try and reunite children with their families, in the short or long term. I know that the International Red Cross, Save the Children and World Vision are all working to support tracing activities to help children find their families.
I hope that these messages are understood. I've worked in other countries after emergencies and many people want to help, but sometimes that help can be less helpful than they realise. I honestly believe that orphanages and institutions should be the places of last resort. I know that Myanmar families and communities do an amazing job of keeping their children in their communities, and I also know (from personal experience) what a fantastic and unique support the religious institutions provide. I had many positive experiences of working with the monasteries...
Saturday, May 24, 2008
We were in Pathein yesterday (May 22 2008). We estimated that there were about 3955 displaced people (750 families), who had come from Latputtar & NgaPuTaw areas. Situation is improving. Food, clothes and shelters are available. Becoz, donor from Pathein, is providing food to the people everyday. But around May 25, they would like to return to their home villages. They are now living at the State schools. And the State school will reopen in coming June. They will need money to go back to school. They have blankets but they need cooking aluminum pans, plates, mosquito nets & Tarpaulin (water proof).
Currently, we are trying to contact MyanngMya by calling the local organizers and we have not been able to reach anybody yet. However, a friend of us who had returned from MyaungMya last Monday told us that food and shelters are available, but health care is needed. The displaced people will have to go back to their home/villages and they will need cooking pot and pans, plates, mosquito nets and Tarpaulin (water proof).
Some villages around DayDaYal that are accessible by car are frequently visited by the donors and they have no major problems at this point. But there are families from Taw Kykaung and Tike Kyaung areas that have been displaced and sheltering at DayDaYal area. They will like to go back to their home/villages. But there are still a lot of problems and it is very difficult to go back to Tike Kyaung. We estimated that there are 45 families. Officials gave them one 52' length tarpaulin but they needed more. They need blanket, aluminum pans, plates, mosquito nets and tarpaulin and these are the best to donate at Tike Kyaung. In addition, we estimated that there are about 86 families from Kyone Bote area sheltering in DayDaYal area. They are also facing the same problems like others.
Yesterday (May 22), in Pathein we heard that there were 21 orphans at one of the refuge camp. We heard that the officials are taking care of the orphans and planning to establish a permanent place for the orphans. We will go to LatPutTar and report to you in details on this development. One of our organizers lives in LatputTar and we plan to give you the details soon.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Total donations received as of 23 May 2008: $40,308 (Grand total as of today)
Purchased and Distribution:
Please click here for detailed distribution and areas reached for this week ending 23 May 2008.
Thank you all very much for your generosity and support. Together, we can make a difference.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
I am back ! Sorry I could not report to you all sooner. I was really down and had to recharge. The trip to MM was quite short but we were able to accomplish most of our missions.
Day One - May 17 2008:
- Arrived Yangon around 11 a.m. with 160kgs (330.7lbs) of goods. The custom officials were quite OK with our boxes. As soon as they see that it is for cyclone victims, they let us go.
Yangon, once it is known as Garden city is now Garbage city. Most of the big trees are all gone and whatever left is on pavement waiting to be collected.
- Went to Q and had a short meeting with one of his staff. Her group went to delta regions last weekend (May 11th -12th) and she was sharing their experience. They are able and willing to go to these villages where it can only be reached by small boats. If the funding was provided they can go to these areas. According to her ppl, going to these remote villages must take rubber boots as the mud can reach knee high. We gave them 1,000,000 kyats to buy rice bags and some rubber slippers. She will report the detail status of their trip this week.
- Met with medical students and made arrangements for May 18 trip. We planned to go with the medical students group accompanied by their teachers and some other volunteers. Bought some medicine and some supplies recommended/requested by the doctors.
Day Two - May 18 2008
- 4:30 am went to meeting point and loaded a truck with Rice bags, Dry Beans, Clothes, some dry food, milk power bags, Ovaltine, Milo and some medicine. We also took some plastic sheets donated from BKK. This group of about 40 volunteers also boarded the same truck.
- As soon as we left Yangon, around Hlaing Thar Yar, we started seeing trucks full of supplies heading to the delta regions. It was an amazing scene where a lot of local citizens (who has very little) chipping in and helping the cyclone victims. The cars were driving bumper to bumper with the speed of 20 KM per hour.
- We did not see any check-points along the way.
- Our rice truck was able to go without anyone asking questions. We also saw several trucks with rice bags along the way.
- We started seeing people (villagers/victims) lining along the road right after Twan Te Township. There were cars stopping and distributing various supplies such as rice, beans, biscuits and also shampoo packages.
- Monks and some local patrol were helping the crowd to stay in line and also helping the flow of traffic.
- We saw some ppl dropping things from their cars. It was a narrow two way road and it is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS!! for the kids as they run after the goods. So anyone who is going to these regions, PLEASE DO NOT DROP THE GOODS FROM THE CAR.
- As I went on this trip, I have some doubts about Water Purification Tablets (WPT). We were not able to hand them to the villagers because it can be harmful to them if they don't use them properly. According to some villagers they have no problems with water as it rains everyday and this is what they been using all their life. The monasteries and local shelters are also using the rain water and as it constantly rains, they are not worry about water supply. I think WPT are only useful at hospitals and some large organized camp sites. Definitely, should not give them to the villagers.
- Myanmar rainy season is really a rainy season: rain all day. The only difference is pouring rain to drizzling rain. It is really hard to function on this constant rain. You can only imagine ppl living in these 4 feets high huts with very little cover on them surrounded by muddy floor. A lot of villagers asked for clothes and plastic sheets.
- The scene of rows and rows of people sitting along the road was heartbreaking. As most of the people (volunteers) were not being able (or too dangerous) to go to the remote villages, these villagers came out from these remote regions and waited for the supplies along the road. Of course, the young children and elderly were left at the villages.
- Our car became a mobile medical facility for the doctors and medical students. They treated the patients while we distributed the goods. I took some plastic lunch boxes from BKK and I put small towels for elderly and milk power for mothers with ORS, Tylenol and Ovaltine in every single box. Most people wanted the box more than the content. :(
- A lot of heartbreaking stories: parents lost their children and children lost their parents. I don't know which one is worse. I can only hope that their void will be fulfilled somehow. The orphans can be targeted by human traffickers and we must do something for them. At the moment, most of the monasteries have been looking after them.
- Around 5 p.m. we started distributing Plastic sheets we got from BKK's donor. We were able to help 5 families, a roof to sleep in and they were extremely pleased with our sheets. The Da-Neet they've used for roofing is out of supply and they were reusing the leftover from cyclone.
- Gave 4 heavy duty sheets to one family of seven people. They installed the sheets right in front of us. Gave 2 sheets to a woman (widow) with two kids, living in half-finished roof as she can't afford to finish the rest of the roof. The Da-Neet cost Kyat 15,000 for 100 and it is not even available to buy.
- Gave 1 Big sheet to the old Man living in the monastery. We saw this bamboo framed small house, but no one was there. We asked the neighbor and said this house belongs to Old Man who treats kids for free with traditional medicine. The whole neighborhood was happy for the old man even the monks came out and said we made the right choice.
A few comments (quotable quotes) from the villagers:
" Guys, our goal is to get rice"
" Are there any people left in Yangon?"
" I can't take the smell of gas anymore" (They were sitting 1 ft away from the car)
" Do you have any clothes/sweaters for us? "
" How come it is always women clothes?"
That's it for now, I will give you the details of things we distributed along with the receipts tomorrow morning. Regards to all,
Just want to share a quick summary of the trip.15 May: I was able to take about 150kgs (330.7lbs). No overweight charges, thanks to Myanmar Airways International. Flight delay and arrived late evening in YGN.
We managed to meet with different groups (volunteers groups, business groups and local groups) to find different channels to distribute our food/supplies.
All of them, obviously, have different ways/channels of distributing supplies. Since they are all big, we may need to go along with them within the region to reach our food/supplies to reach to the hands of people who need help/assistance. We can go along with them on their trips and donate directly to the people. For example, one PSO gave me information on when and where they are going and we can go along with them and donate to the people. (He called me from a boat and said they would wait us somewhere in Twante if we want to go with them.) All we need to do is to give them one day in advance of the information about how much/what we are donating and to where we are going donate/distribute our donations (food/supplies).
Just to give you an idea and it applies to other two channels as well, I assume. So, let's have your views on this.
SNA’s group picked-up the supplies for the next day.
PT and HHA arrived YGN. Customs randomly checked boxes and asked for the contents.
- Met with UKK (Local Soccer Club) MOEGYO supported 500,000 kyats to buy rice. They will go to: Oh Bo Village, DeDaye.
- Met with Myanmar-Burma Emergency Aid Network through friends from Manila (who donated apprx. $2,500 to MOEGYO). Relatively large group. MOEGYO supported 1,000,000 kyats to buy blankets to some villages in DeDaye. Details will be provided later.
Let me stop here for now.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
This is embarassing to admit. Previously, I had envisioned myself to go all out and do the necessary humanitarian works to save all those poor Nagis victims. But after the day return trip on Saturday (17 May), I was emotionally and physically exhausted. (and we just went to Twantee area and Kun Chan Gone, not to the delta region. I can't imagine how I would be in those areas.) I was consumed with so many different thoughts and emotions that I could speak about the day's experience at home in the next day only.
Nevertheless here is what I like to share with you all.
Starting from Yangon, we already see many cars, trucks leaving Yangon. At a check point out of Hlaing Tharyar, somebody took a glance in our car, but said nothing. It was ok. No questions asked. We were very glad that the blockage were not conducted anymore. We heard everybody is going out ok.
Phayar-ngote-to Village (northern and southern part):
We had planned to go to Phayar-ngote-to village on the Twantee area in early last week. There are some damage in the village, but it is not so bad. Their primary school needs to be rebuilt because the foundation is tilted now. The villagers were extremely happy and told us that only when donors come to them directly, they are able to receive the goods. In this north side village, we donated (1kg of rice, 5-7 pcs of potatoes, 5-7 pcs of onions, salt, 2 eggs) per family, also donated were clothing, snacks, some baby milk powders from MOEGYO. We offered mosquito net, and a blanket to Sayadaw. The population is 110 families in this village. In the south village, we donated 3 bags of rice, 1 bag of onions, a half bag of potatoes, 250 eggs, baby milk powder to the monastery. We didn't distribute to each family because we didn't have enough time.
Thone-Khwa Village, Kun Chan Gone (KCG) (about 600 families):
We continued our trip to Kun Chan Gone. As soon as we go into KCG area, the devastation is apparent, little has been repaired. The smell was also very bad from some rotten bamboos, and trees. We started seeing lines of people standing by the road to grab any thing that donor's cars may drop onto them. (I don't mean they are dangerous and will attack you but they just stand by at the road side and waiting to get any food or supplies). At one place, a car in front of us dropped some stuff into the children crowd, the children running around trying to grab anything they find on the street. It was a chaos and was very dangerous both for the kids and for the cars driving behind.
Once we get into the dirt road leading to the village, we were immediately welcomed by the nasty smell. We found some dead buffaloes and cows in the creek next to the village and the paddy fields. I didn't go see it myself but I was told there were also some human corpses lying around in the creek in the back of the village. This is after 2 weeks of cyclone. When we asked why they never cleared these dead bodies, the villagers said, they had cleared some bodies (about 200 something died in this village) in the beginning. But these new bodies are drifted from somewhere else, there were no one to claim them, and the villagers are not willing to clean them. They said it sure smells bad, but we are now used to it, and we are not going to go near them. So, you can see and feel how bad it is. At the end, someone has to lead the way and clean these as water and air around them are so polluted.
We donated Food/Supplies from MOEGYO in this village plus the clothing and snacks that we brought along. We donated the items to the families taking refuge in the monastery. There were about 80 families in the monastery and some more from the village. We labeled the foot powder and the medicated creams in Burmese and we explained them what they were.
In summary, we like to do following things for our next trip:
For immediate relief efforts, we like to bring
- Rice, onions, potatoes, salt, eggs, instant noodles, pots, plates, cups etc
- mosquito nets, blankets, clothings, towels
- water purification tablets
We think that the population within day-return trips from Yangon area cannot die of hunger with the way the current donations are going on. In Thone kwa village, during the 2 hour that we were there, there were other 4 donors doing the same thing like us. And there are donors everyday, the villagers told us. We were wondering if there is anything we can do for the second phase of relief: community redevelopment program.
For second phase, community redevelopment program:
- Schools are opening soon. Some schools are damaged and collapsed to the ground, some are still occupied by the victims, some are still under repair. If the parents have a hard time going thru day to day they are not going to send their children to schools on the extra cost. We should be able to look after these kids, providing books, pens, pencils, text books, school furniture etc.
- The houses need to be re-built really quickly. Monsoon is hitting already, they have to be under a safe roof before things get worse.
- The farming season has to be started in a few days time. Now, these farmers do not know how to start the season, they lost their cows/buffaloes, any trucks (how do you call lae-htun-set?) they have, they also lost their rice-seeds. The situation for the next coming months is very doom. Please keep these options in your mind to help them out.
- Can we get some items from you for our next trip? Or some funds to buy rice, onions, potatoes, eggs etc for food items and books, pens, pencils, text books, shoulder bags, rain coats etc for school children?
Thank you so much for all the contribution you have provided to us.I will send the photos later on. Will also fill out the forms NL/PT gave us. I still have tylenol, some baby milk powder, milo and candles left with us. We will bring them with us on next trip or we will donate further to the groups that we know who are doing several trips in a week.Some groups are starting to talk about coordinated efforts between us. There will be a meeting on 22 May with our group.
Thanks and regards,
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Local vs. Overseas if items are also available in local markets:
Some items are more expensive overseas. In Myanmar, there're locally made substitutes or "made-for-Myanmar" products that are less expensive. Transportation costs and time can also be saved. Plus, buying in local markets will also support the local business.
What they don't need:
Chocolates, biscuits, beauty products, luxury items.
What they need urgently:
· Food (some areas are getting enough from donors, remote areas are not). Main diet consists of rice, vegetables, meat, nga-peet. Anything along that line would be good.
· More urgently - "da-neet" and bamboo for building huts.
· Clothes (new or old).
· Boats. It's the same everywhere. People in easily accessible areas are getting aid. But those in the remotest regions are barely surviving, because they are hard to get to. Only boats and helicopters can reach these areas.
What they would also like to have:
· Instant coffee (lots of Myanmar rural people drink instant coffee mix everyday! this gives them energy, and some are even addicted to the caffeine)
· Instant noodles (not really necessary if they got their main diet)
· School uniforms, and money for school enrollment, and stationery (schools open in 2 weeks)
· Milk powder (for babies who lost their moms), most rural Myanmar's don't drink milk, Ovaltine, etc.
* Educate recipients to use boiled/bottled water for milk preparation for babies
· Plastic cups for bathing, washing, receiving rice rations, etc.
· Plastic plates and bowls for eating
· Bowls, pans for cooking meals
Some local prices for consideration: (just to get a general idea)
· There's an advertisement in the newspapers for 600-kyats tee-shirts, special pricing for donors.
· Toothbrush - 100-150kyats
· Instant noodles - 150-180 kyats
· Toothpaste - 350-400 ks
· Soap - 200 ks per bar
· Coffee - 130 ks per satchel retail price (whole economy bags bought in bulk are less expensive)
· Blankets – 3,500 ks
· Towels – 3,500 ks
· Mosquito net (single) – 6,500 ks
· 100 "Da-neet" cost about 15,000 kyats
A recent exchange rate was 1140 kyats to a US dollar.
Return to their farms:
The survivors are anxious to get back to their farms. The monsoon is starting now, and they need to plow and sow their farms. Women and children can stay in these refugee camps until alternative housing and/or relief can be made available, but the men have decided to return to the farms to start work. Only then will their livelihoods be back to normal. They need to build big huts housing about 20 men each near their farms. They can build the huts themselves, but they need "da-neet" and other materials. Such materials used to be abundant, but Nargis wiped out whole areas so things are scarce. Da-neet can only be bought from other regions (i.e. Mawlamyine) and transported by ship. But there's no such logistics system yet.
Saving the children:
Many, many children have been made orphans overnight. I'll spare you the heart-wrenching details. Orphanages need to be established to handle the extra load and really help these poor little souls continue their life journey on an even-footing.
Near Mount Popa, there is a monk who has pledged to provide space and sheter for 300 orphans. He will manage it, hire local staff, send the kids to government school which is nearby. He has enough space. But he needs help and donations to build housing and especially procure 6 month to 1 year ration of food. After that, he can take care of the orphanage himself, because enough donations should be rolling in on a regular basis by then (according to the monk).
Monday, May 19, 2008
To date, we have received $24,539 in donations, and all our expenses and activities have been documented to make us transparent. To help the victims more effectively and to make us more accountable to our donors, the MOEGYO team has been registered as a not-for-profit organization called "MOEGYO Humanitarian Foundation" in the New York state as of 15th May 2008.
The MOEGYO Humanitarian Foundation pledges to provide relief and assistance to the victims of the disaster in the most effective and efficient way. We are a donor-supported humanitarian organization, and your donations will help us rebuild and improve lives of the people in Myanmar and bring hope to many people whose lives have been shattered.
To donate to MOEGYO, please make check payable to:
MOEGYO Humanitarian Foundation
85-22 60th Road
Middle Village, NY 11379
We would like to thank our donors, volunteers and advisers around the world because we would not have been able to provide this much needed assistance to the victims in Myanmar without your help. We are touched by the support and kindness which made us stronger to help those who lost their loved ones, homes and livelihood because of the Cyclone Nargis.
The MOEGYO team
Total donations received as of 18 May 2008: $24,539 (Grand total as of today)
Purchased and distributed:
Rice - 100 bags
Milk Powder 700 gr. - 23 bags
Milk powder 1200 gr. - 14 bags
Ovatine, milo (960 individual pak of 3 in 1) - 48 bags
Clotrimazole Cream (for Skin) - 400 pcs
Foot powder (for Skin) - 300 pcs
Imodium - 1 box
Tylenol - 2000 tablets
ORS- Electrolyte, Royal D - 380 packs
Detergent - 84 packs
Bagalay Phone Phone
Areas reached with the help of our fellow friends/teams in Myanmar: Than Lwin Town, Kyauk Tan City Payarkone village; Shwe Pauk Kan, Insein, Dagon Myo Thit
Thank you all very much for your generosity and support. Together, we can make a difference.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
We are collecting
Rice 50kgs/bag - $ 17.00
Lunch Bag - $ 0.80
Milk Powder 700 grams/ bag - $ 5.00
Milk Powder 1200 grams/bag - $ 10.00
Candles 51/pack - $ 3.00
First Aid Kit - $ 5.00
Hardware - Nail 18 kgs - $ 55.00
Plastic Sheets - $ 15.00
Boat rental is about US$100 per day including gas
Used children and adult clothing - collecting in Bangkok and Sydney. Please check with our contacts in those countries for donation.
We are also collecting rubber boots.
Price list from local markets in Myanmar
Toothbrush - 100-150kyats·
Instant noodles - 150-180 kyats·
Toothpaste - 350-400 ks·
Soap - 200 ks per bar·
Coffee - 130 ks per satchel retail price (whole economy bags bought in bulk are less expensive)· Blankets – 3,500 ks·
Towels – 3,500 ks·
Mosquito net (single) – 6,500 ks·
100 "Da-neet" cost about 15,000 kyats
Horse Star (multi sizes and colors, made in Thailand)- 1600ks
Ruber long boots
Horse Black color only - 2300 ks
Buckets (Black color with plastic handle)Made in Thailand
size 15 - 12000ks (one dozen) 1000ks per each
size 16 - 14000 ks ( one dorzen) 1167 ks per each
size 18 - 17000 ks (one dorzen)1417 ks
A recent exchange rate was 1140 kyats to a US dollar.
Suggestions from one of the contributors:
The items you mention like milk powder, ovaltine, milo, detergent and old clothes should be relatively easy to collect from parents. It sounds like it would be better if you had cash to buy medicines. Have you thought of taking hand soap as a cholera prevention measure? What about simple sulfa drugs, eg. sulphadimidine, sulphanilamide, to treat tropical ulcers? They should be cheaper than more modern antibiotics.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Information shared by one of the fellow groups:
Just to share the current situation from the group from our side.
From the visit to Kun Kyan Gone and after talking with some of the survivals, the following facts are learnt:
1. Rice trucks are banned on Yangon-Pathein Road at this moment.
2. Aids reach to Kun Kyan Gone township but not around the villages where transportation are difficult (half an hour on boat), where badly cyclone hitted areas.
3. The group goes today with car loaded with foods and water bottle for two target villages around Kun Kyan Gone Township. (5 L equivalent in kind stuffs).
4. Stuffs for distribution are instant noodles, Custom/Super Kwekar, water putirification bottles and candles. At the moment, instant noodle cost in Yangon is 200 kyats per pack, 800 kays for a pack of candle and 3200 kyats for one big pack of kweykar-out (30 small packs included). Prices can be changed subject to the situation and commodities prices.
5. Continues to tighten access to Ayeyarwady Division and other regions impacted by the cyclone.
6. Local authorities pay much more attention to distribuition whith crowd people and ask some queries which could leads to limit our access to those areas.
7. Distribution with large amount of food tons cannot make at one time. That means donor/group has to go there several times with minimum level of food tons.
8. What the group plan to do currently is one the village elders will wait them in Kun Kyan Gone and take them to those villages.
9. They will put the stuffs one of the house or monastery and call young lead people/senior sayardaw who has power from the village and let them to contribute the stuffs and the group will monitor and manage behind it. That leads to direct distribution and quiet.
10. Facts –one of the bridges near Bogalay is very badly damaged. The load of the truck or cars is very limited.
Let's wait and see what the group will tell when they come back.
Shared by medical doctor friends:
METRONIDAZOLE 500 mg x 3 for 10 days
· Long-term gut infection causing diarrhea (chronic amoebic dysentery)
· sudden severe diarrhea due to infection caused by the amoeba Entamoeba histolytica (acute amoebic dysentry)
And then Furamide (Diloxanide) to eradicate the intestinal cysts
Thursday, May 15, 2008
- The latest news from Yangon is that a group (not ours) went to Kon Chan Kone area on May 13th to donate some rice bags. Right before they run out of supplies the angry crowd started to fight. They had to leave (run) from the area. This is the first we hear this kind of story. Usually all the crowd line up and they were very orderly.
- So far I do not have any information from our distributors in Delta area. The doctors group should be back soon. Hopefully by the end of this week, I will have alot of news.
- My cousin is going to delta area this weekend with his classmates from Medical shcool. They are willing to help in anyway they can. I told them that we will support them if they need any medical supplies. He will let me know.
-Shipment of supplies went out today. The airline took all our goods (150+ kgs) without charging any excess fees. Poor airline is loosing so much money but helping others.
The list of supplies for today's shipment
-Tylenol 2000 tablets
-ORS 380 paks
-Imodium 1 box
-Milk powder 14 bags 1200 gr.
-Milk Powder 23 bags 700 gr.
-Ovatine, milo 48 bags (960 individual pak of 3 in 1)
-Detergent 84 paks
Yesterday's detailed list:
- Clotrimazole skin cream 400 pcs
- Foot Powder 300 pcs
- Most likely we are going to put them in individual bags and donate to each one. This way is alot easier when you are surrounded by hundreds of ppl.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
- We bought alot of supplies today. I will email you the list tomorrow.
- I am thinking of doing an individual pack to donate, it is alot easier to give esp when you are surrounded my hundreds of ppl.
- Shipment of skin cream and foot powder went out today. I think I already sent you the receipt.
Let me go and arrange the supplies for photo shoot. I will ask NL post it today.
- 30 bags of rice to Than Lyin Town, Kyauk Tan City Payarkone village
There are about 9 villages population between 500-1000
According to some sources 75% of these villagers are homeless
- 30 Bags of rice (50 kgs each) to Show Pauk Kan
The local monestry is giving away water and we also donate fuel/gas to run the generator
- 30 Bags of rice to Insein- Shwe Pyi Thar
Monestry helps us distribute the rice bags to each individual.
At the moment Sayardaw is sheltering about 500 survivors. Everyday he is feeding them rice with beans.
- 10 Bags of rice to Yarzagyo Monestry in Dagon Seikan area.
There are about 200 people under the care of Sayardaw. We also serve Milk with rice to children.
- Bokalay monestary is also sheltering about 700 survivors and they are able to buy rice from near by town of Pathein. Since the transport to that areas is quite a chanllenge we donate $600 and they will manage to buy from their own source.
Donation is given to DAM who goes there with his own team.
- I am still gathering the supplies, I will give you the detail list of next shipment very soon.
Just to share information on high energy biscuits:
Our friends said they couldn't find high energy biscuits in Bangkok, but these biscuits are available in Dubai. One of the suppliers in Dubai said there are 140 metric tons of BP-5 in stock. The unit price is EURO 1.81 Ex Stock. (Each unit= 500g).
Got the skin cream and also powder for rash. I've attached 3 receipts. One from Medicine company and the others are from Save the Children Funds. I made a list of things ppl can donate with price. Should we put it in our Immediate needs or create a another page?
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
- Just came back from the meeting with one of our field person. Her group is targeting affected areas around the outskirt of Yangon. They went to Shwe Puak Kan and donated rice, water and soap. It is quite difficult to give directly to victims as most of the official are afraid of crowd gathering. She did managed to give directly after some convincing. Photo of their action will be posted soon.
1. No foreigners allowed in any of the disaster areas.
2. No cameras allowed in disaster areas.
3. Donation / charity groups are springing up all over the country and the world. Many are raising cash. Many are collecting items (clothing, etc). Some items are being delivered to disaster areas.
4. Some areas are still off-limits, as survivors are over-eager to get their share of the distribution that sometimes it can lead to looting. People have reported being stopped at knife-point and asked to give more food / items, in some areas.
5. Once you get in the field, a lot of people come back literally with only the shirt on their backs. I.e. you go there with a jacket and a teeshirt, you only come back with your tee.
6. Bodies are still visibly floating in the water. Will take a few more days for them to sink or decompose.
7.There are 100,000 survivors. For example, $2Million will come to about a dollar per survivor for 20 days. As food prices have soared and no one can grow their own food anymore, a dollar a day is not enough to sustain life. So if we up the burn-rate to 2 dollars per day, the number of days comes down to 10 days. This is just for food. It doesn't include shelter, clothing, funds for business to re-start.
8. We need a few billions of US$ in total. How to get that? That's the big question.
9. Also with loss of human lives, so many many many cows and bulls have perished. These people cannot recover without their tools of trade along with farmlands.
As per our talk, and recent emails discussions, our focus for coming rounds is
- medicine (skin medicine, antibiotics, etc.)
- water purification tablets
- milk powder
- packaging of supplies for individual use with the help of volunteers in BKK
- instant noodles
- dry food
We get some report from our volunteer researcher that high energy biscuits are available in BKK. This may be a good idea for those areas that NL mentioned rice is too heavy to carry.
Please send as much as you can for next tues batch. We pledge $5000 for that.
I've tried contacting noodle factory owner but his phone is not working. According to our mutual friend he can help and if I remember it correcctly it is about K200 US 0.18. Mama noodle alone cannot fill you up or makes you thirsty but most burmese put rice in their noodle to fill their stomach. I think noodle is great. Let me know.Our target to ship this Tue as much as we can. We are targeting to send skin medicine and some dry food.
- Alot of people are having salt burn from the sea water and the exposure to sun so we would like to send some skin soothing creams. One doctor suggested anti-histamine or strong one anti-pluritic. We are also considering some other medicine for disesase prevention/control medicines. We will contact our local dealer to give us in large quantity. Will let you know soon.
The temporary sherters are availalble in monestries and some camp sites but most people would like to rebuild their houses. As you know, moonsoon/rainy season is already on the way and if they keep on living in these tents the spread diseases are bound to happen. Also I dont think these temp shelters can support for long period. I think we should consider their appeal for Nails and some hardwares.
-We've got some pictures from the field already and we are working to upload into our picture gallery very soon. I know alot of donors would like to see the pictures of our action and I can definately understand that given the news from Myanmar. But with limited accessibility to camera , telephone, computer and internet access it is proof to be difficult for our volenteer to send back the info right away.This is our primary concern as well and we will try our best to get the pictures and reports. In the meantime, please know that every item is recorded and not one item will be wasted and every person we gave to send their Metta.
- I will be buying more Milk Powder today as young and old can eat that with rice.
Our arranged monestreis will be cooking rice with Milk powder, they called it "Milky Rice" and they enjoyed it very much. Should we include Mama noodles too? I can arrange to buy it in Myanmar.
- Our next shipment target is this Tuesday or Wenesday.
- The latest news from Yangon is most of the phones (line phone) are working now.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Total donations received as of 11 May 2008: $13,798 (grand total from all countries)
12,000 Water purification tablets - 1 Litre per tablet (distributed)
3000 Tablets - 30 Litre per tablet (on the way) Shipped today May 11th with Doctors group.
244 Rice bags (154 bags distributed) The remaining 90 rice bags will be distributed to various monestries in Shwe Pyi Thar, Hlaing Thar yar, South and North Dagon, Dala, Kyauk Tan
20,000 tablets of Tylenol (distributed)
600 packets ORS powder (distributed)
300 3 in 1 packets of Oat Meal (distributed)
150 3 in 1 packets of Milo (distributed)
390 3 in 1 packets of Ovatine (distributed)
100 bags Milk powder (on the way) Shipped today May 11th 2008 with doctors group
Areas reached with the help of our fellow friends/teams in Myanmar:
Yangon Division: Hlaing Thar Yar, Dala, TharKayTha, South and North Dagon, Shwe Pyi Thar
Irrawady Division: Delta area : Bogalay, Twantay, Laputta
Thank you all very much for your generosity and support!!! Together, we can make a difference.
-A gourp of Myanmar doctors leaving tonight from BKK to Yangon and they will take all our WTB and Milk Power bags.
- A same doctors group will leave to Bogalay tomorrow at 5 a.m. and they will take our supplies and distribute for us. I will give them WPT and Milk Power bags. Detail of distribution items with destination to be followed.
-KTHZ group going to Bogalay and Pyar Bon areas and they will also distribute WPT and milk powder bags. Detail of distribution items to be followed.
- We will have lunch bags prepared in local monestries and distribute in ShwePyiThar, Kyaik Tan, Dala, Hlaing Thar Yar, South and North Dagon.
Detail of cost and with quantity to be followed.
- The survivors would like to rebuild their houses, they desperately need nails.
12 Pate Tha (18 kgs?? )of Nails is $55
- Would it be possible to create a box with header "Immediate Needs" ?
Regards to all.
(check photos from the trip in the photo gallery)
07:30 hr - Filled up Diesel (10 gallons at 7,500 Kyat/gallon)
07:55 hr - Left Yangon (through Hlaing Thar Yar)
08:45 hr - Reached Ayeyarwaddy Division
09:05 hr - Reached junction (left: MaUBin, PhyarBon, Bogalay and right: to Pathein area) - decided to go to Bogalay, upto that point, fair road condition)
10:20 hr - Passed through MaUBin (from junction to MaUBin - bad road condition) - fair destruction along the road
10:40 hr - Passed through KyaitLatt (MuB - KyL: fair road condition) - severe (buildings/trees) destruction along the road and in KyaitLatt town
11:30 hr - Reached Phyar Bon (KyL - PhB: fair road and poor bridge condition) - severe destruction in Phyar Bon (some relief camps there - don't know the number)
12:30 hr - Arrived Bogalay Township - Flat tire, helped by locals, who shared their experience: received warning in the morning at around 7 on ward by speakers (they know only for the Bogalay town, but not sure about the villages around/across the river, near sea), no evacuation plan, many people didn't pay much attention as they didn't expect much danger based on the past Tsunami experience in Delta (little damage), they started noticing of heavy winds around 6 p.m. and became stronger, the sky were totally red, wind blew from different direction, then many people in town took shelter in neighbors' houses (with brick-wall/strong roofs), debris everywhere, one person said it could have been worse (more casualties) in town if happened during the day time as many people were on the road (20 deaths in Bogalay town - figure not confirmed), water went up to about 3 feet in town and reached up to 20 feet in surrounding villages, where thousands died. Those who helped us said that they will never forget the experience and they lost their houses (saw in person), but they seemed to have high-spirit waiting for help to rebuild their houses (now they got help from their neighbors for shelter and rice from relief camps). But, under the condition, they shouldn't wait any minutes. Distributed a few bags of milo, ovaltine, some food etc. to them and gave a tent-sheet (bought from BKK) to an elderly who still lived under a house with no roof (experienced some rain). The conditions in surrounded areas of Bogalay are very bad as the authority had to issue Martial Law in some areas (some looting and killing for food). Those who survived (7-8 only in some villages) left their villages.
13:30 hr - Went to the central relief camp (to coordinate/receive donations) and spoke to the authorities (noted their names and phone number). Donated: 8 boxes of Tylenol, 4 Ovaltine bags, 3 Gold Roast, 5 NesVistat, 1 pack (60 WPTablets), 1 ORS box. Asked about the urgent needs. According to them: Nails (all sized), salt, water purifier (available locally: 1 bottle for 220 gallons - need to know the price), lease vehicles, eggs, dry food (Mhote Chaut), dry fish, artificial meat.
14:00 hr - Went to the river bank (similar to Tsumani affected area to some extent - based on what we saw in Phuket area). Talked to some locals: situation is still very chaotic, they saw 4-5 bodies in the river, we saw one, nobody seemed to care about that even we saw some people around and they were trying to save an engine from the river). Saw some victim family/refugees in a monastery, but couldn't talk to them due to time constraint. One thing that surprised me was that we didn't hear anyone crying for help or asking desperately for food/shelter. I'm sure that will be a very different story in a severely affected areas that can be reached by boats. Some aid workers and volunteers have already arranged with some boats to reach there to deliver supplies.
15:00 hr - Left Bogalay (after fixing the spare-tire. Note: everyone must take a spare-tire as the roads were full of debris in some areas)
15:40 hr - Reached Phyar Bon and took a different route (shorter) to YGN
16:10 hr - Passed through Day Deye (PhB - DdY: fair road condition) - saw one car from MSF and another from an Embassy distribution food. Many villages spread their paddy on the road to dry them up and it was hard to drive/dangerous as many children were playing along the road
16:45 hr - Passed through Kawt Mhuu (fair road, bad destruction along the road) - heavy rain
17:45 hr - Passed through Ton Tay (KaM - ToT: bad road and destruction along the road)
Conclusion, based on this experience, it's very feasible to reach to the affected areas in Delta very quickly. Road conditions in some areas are bad, but manageable: with normal speed (40-50 km/h), even Bogalay can be reached within 4-5 hours. Since some bridges are not strong enough, heavy supplies (such as rice) wouldn't be practical. There were some normal checkpoints (asked questions: where to go? driver's name?) One must avoid any argument with the authorities at the checkpoints as it might just delay achieving your main objectives.
I have discussed with different group of volunteers (TZ, KM, SM, HM, AM confirmed) and will coordinate with them from here or in-person for distributions and local supplies. The full assessment report, pictures and plan will be posted soon.
Low-cost carrier Thai AirAsia, which flies daily to Yangon, said it was extending help to Myanmar by offering to carry for free donations from the public and by continuing to provide regular flights to the country. The airline wants to make sure donations such as food, clothing, flashlights and articles for shelter reach Myanmar as fast as possible. The airline would not cancel its Bangkok-Yangon route, he said, adding that humanitarian agencies planning to travel to Myanmar may contact the airline as the airline continues to operate regular flights to Yangon. "We are allowing all guests on the Bangkok-Yangon route who were affected by the cyclone to change their travel dates free of charge," he added. (Source: Bernama)
Saturday, May 10, 2008
- Received 3000 WPTablets each tablets is for 30 litre of water, will email you the invoice on Monday.
- Bought various assortment of Milk powder from Enfalac, Dumex, Nestle
some are for 1 yr old and some are 3 yr plus
each bag is from 700 grams to 1200 grams
toatl 100 bags. Detail will follow.
- Two options to distribute
1- There is a doctor who is going to Bokalay on 12th May and he is willing to take and distribute for us
2- We now have contact with Q so if his team can wait one more day we will have someone flying into Myanmar tomorrow especially for us with our goods.
- At the moment, I am trying to arrange a lunch bags for monestry in Bogalay where 600 survivors are sheltering. According to my contact that is the only monestry left in Bogalay. This monestry is also known as Sayardaw Bokalay Phone Phone Monestry. I will have all the detail very soon.
- I have't talk to my contact in Myanmar, I will call him very soon and will have the latest updates soon.
Thank you all for your generous support, we could not have done it without you. Let's use what we have to run towards our best...that's all we can do right now.
Thanks PT. You are great!
Summary of our talk last night:
Budget for supplies
- $2000 water purifying tablets
- $3000 milk powder
- Balance for lunch bags and rice bags
- Keep all receipts
- Energy biscuits
- Medicine to buy to prepare for potential diseases (let's consult with doctors)
The driking water is transported from near by regions. We don't know how clean it is so the tablets are still very useful.
- I've just ordered the water tablets for 3000 Tablets (30 Litre per tablets) for US$2000 and they will deliver it today. He can't issue the invoice today (Saturday) so he will give me the invocie on Monday.
- Arrange with some friends to distribute food bags. She will let me know the detail soon.
- Going out now to buy milk powder for children.
- If I don't find anyone within two days to fly in I will go there tonight. Will email you soon.
I saw news about water supplies being contaminated by salt water and water purification tablets are not useful in those areas.Should we be sending medicine for diarrhea and malaria for widespread illness ?I'm not sure if those medicines are over-the-counter or need prescription. May be we can ask a pharmacist.We need to give those with care, children may need a different dose than an adult...etc. A safer bet may be mosquito nets.
We are very touched by your generosity. Many thanks to all our fund-raisers and donors for your support.
Today, we received $7758 in donation. Please stay tune on how your donation will help support victims in Myanmar.
Friday, May 9, 2008
- Hlaing Thar Yar: 64 bags of rice to victims only (60 x 16,800 kyats, 2 x 25,000, 2 x 21,600)
- We were surrounded by about a thousand villagers, distributed to real heads of YatKwatSu (about 10 of them) based on the figures. Many of them showed their appreciations and said "Thar Du" to all. (pictures attached)
- Car service = 40,000 kyats
- Tontay: 30 bags through Save the Children (SC) (30 x 16,800 kyats)
- Nga Pu Taw: 60 bags through SC (60 x 16,800 kyats)
- 2 ORS and 4 WPT through Air Force (they are flying 9 helicopters back/forth for the whole day) - Detailed destinations will be provided later.
- SM will take care of Dala, GyatKyi, TharKayTha, will provide rice: he will call back on amount and logistics later today
- TZ's crew will take care of Delta area (various township): I will give him the rest of WPTablets for distribution
- I will go to either Bogalay or Laputta
- SM and his brothers will help me for logistics etc. We can rely on him for future plan.
- The operations need to continue for months and funds need to be provided either small or large scales whatever possible
- We don't have time to really distinguish between real victims and not and it's very hard. One thing for sure is that everyone looks very desperate.
Yangon is trying to be back to normal, many people don't look desparate, back to their normal daily work. Some areas received electricity starting from Yesterday, water from the day before yesterday. Many schools in YGN (including TTC) are in bad shape. The roofs blown away and the chool supposes to start on the first week of June.
Credit Save the Children
Important Figures (As of 8/5/08)
- Nga Pu Taw - 30 %
- High Gyi - 95 % - 976 deaths
- Laputta, Pyin Sa Lu, Kyaik Latt - 95 %
- Maw Kyun - 95 % - 1,835 deaths, 2,187 lost
- Phyar Pon - 90 % - 5 deaths, 4,000 lost
- Amar - 90 % - 152 deaths, 16 lost
- Bogalay - 90 % - 20 deaths, 11,674 lost (most like dead)
- Day Deye - 95 % - 789 deaths, 172 lost
- Worst hit townships - Hain Gyi Kyun, Laputta (including Pyinsalu), Bogalay, Amar, Mawlamyinegyun)
- Badly hit: Nga Pu Taw, Pyapon, Daydeye, MyaungMya
Nga Pu Taw - Hospital collapsed
Laputta - 19 villages totally damaged
Yangon (Mayangone, Insein, Paungdaung, Dawbon, Kaya, Seikgyikanaungto, Mingalartaung Nyunt, Thingankyune, Yankin, DagonSeikkan, DagonMyoThit (South), Dala) - 124,438 affected people, 24,888 households
- Rice 900 tons per day, 6,358 tons per week
Note: forwarded message attached.
Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile. Try it now.
- take spare-tires as the roads were full of debris in some areas
- must take rubber boots as the mud can reach knee high in remote villages
- There were some normal checkpoints (asked questions: where to go? driver's name?) One must avoid any argument with the authorities at the checkpoints as it might just delay achieving your main objectives.
- Do NOT drop the goods from the car. It is extremely dangerous for the kids as they run after the goods. The roads are very narrow.
- Do NOT give the water purification tablets (WPT) to individuals/villagers without giving proper instruction. If WPT are not used properly, they can be harmful. It is most useful in the hospitals or in large camps. It will be safer not to distribute to individual villagers.
- These small boats can not carry heavy load. One of our ODG boat sank. No one was hurt but it is good idea to wear life jackets during these trips.
Water (available locally: 1 bottle for 220 gallons - need to know the price)
Eggs, salt, dry food (Mhote Chaut), dry fish, artificial meat
Tatminhtut, dry food ( like eggs, chickensusage pack, etc)
Medicine ( dat sar as diarrhoea begin)
- Metronidazole 500 mg x 3 for 10 days
· Long-term gut infection causing diarrhea (chronic amoebic dysentery)
· Sudden severe diarrhea due to infection caused by the amoeba Entamoeba histolytica (acute amoebic dysentry)
- Furamide (Diloxanide) to eradicate the intestinal cysts
Nails (all sized) : (18 kg) - $55
Plastic shelter / sheets
Cooking pot and pans, plates
"da-neet" and bamboo for building huts
Tarpaulin (water proof)
- There are 9 helicoptors flying back and forth to the affected region everyday and we know one of the pilot. He can take Water Tablets but not rice to the region. We will give our water purification tablets to him today. As time is crucial we may not have exact name or group who got our tablets. We will know the region and receiver.
- The 60 litre per tablets are more useful than the 1 litre tablets. Spoke to Thai Military supplier and he said they can can give us more if we need the tablets.
- At the moment it is hard to reach delta region without getting the help from big orgs or gov agency. They are the only one with mobility. We will make our best judgement.
- All the ferry going to the delta region is fully armed guarded as ppl fighting and trying get on board.
- Most bridges going to the Bakalay, Phyarphon, Kyailat are not strong enough to bear heavy load. Buses are crossing empty and passengers must walk across the bridge.
- Spoke to ppl from MM Rice Federation and they have warehouses in the other areas as well so we can take the bags from the nearest warehouse and transport to the affected areas.
The most affested area are
Irrawady State: Heain Gyi Island, Letputta, Bokalay, Amar, Maw La Myaine Island
Yangon State: Dala, Konkyan Island, Kawmhuu, Khayan, Dawphon, S-Dagon, N-Dagon, Shwepyitar, Hlaing Tharyar
-We are also focusing on Haling thar yar as many ppl from affected delta region came to these camps. There are more than 30 camp sites and holding approx 3000 families.
- Communication within the city is really bad. Hard to mobolize
Correction 1 - Yesterday I posted 50 bags of rice going with "Doctors without border group" it is with Save the Children group.
Correction 2 - Today Save the Children said since they have to do their own reporting they cannot mix our bags with their 1000 bags. I am trying really hard not to put any commnets here.
I will email you all very soon.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
We think 1500K per lunch box is fine. It may be more expensive than buying rice bags but those lunch boxes should help those who cannot find ways to prepare meals for themselves. Can restaurant arrange for distribution as well? NL can ask the restaurant where to send so that he does not have to worry about distribution. We may have to pay extra but at this point we are thankful that they can do the service considering the situation.
- Not a very good day. Not able to go to delta region as all the transport is extremely difficult and dangerous. According to some locals two ferry boats sank today due to over load with ppl.
- Received 150 rice bags around 1 p.m. and store it at the warehouse.
Send 50 bags to delta region thru dotors wihout border group. They are sending 1,000 bags of their own.
- Went to Hlaing Thar Yat Tsp where 3000 families are living in a shelter. They are desperate food and water. We are going there tomorrow to distribute rice, medicine, water tablets.
- Went to the Restaurant - they can only do K1500 for each lunch box.
- Most of the day he is in the outskrit area of Yangon so he is not able to write any email or send pictures.
- We now have contact with someone from Bogalay. Most ppl got hurt or die because of falling coconut trees and hypothermia. They received 350 tents and most ppl are living under these tents. They need food and medicine. Some of them are cold and sick.
- There are two goups going to delta region this morning, one is from Save the Children Fund and the other is just a private goup. We will join with one of them.
- The rice federation has a warehouse in Hlaing Thar Yar and they will store the 100- 150 bags for us there. We can go pick it up whenever we need and if we need more they will give us too.
- Met with a contact for distributing pills last night and they will give it to some ppl who are going to that afftected region. Not sure if he already gave it to them or if so how many.
More to come.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
As time is critical, we gathered funds among ourselves. Winthin 2 days, our contact has managed to fly to Yangon with supplies, such as water purifying tablets and medicine. He is now in Yangon visiting shelters and distributing supplies. With initial funding of $5000, we have purchased supplies from Bangkok. The balance will go for rice bags and beans in Myanmar for distribution.
Watch this blog for daily updates including information on funding and spending for transparency. Our main objective here is to help distribute basic food (rice and beans) and water as much as we can and as far as we can go in the disaster regions.
Your donation in any amount through any channels will help a great deal to the people of Myanmar.
Thank you very much.
A quick update after chatting with PT.
6 May 2008 : 5000 - deposit
6 May 2008: (1300) - supplies from BKK
7 May 2008: (3000) - rice and beans
7 May 2008: Balance: 700
PT and I will coordinate and update the fund balance through hopefully (google) excel. Details will be sent again.
Thanks PT for the update.
Great, it is indeed awesome feeling that we are able to reach to Delta region as well.
We will continue with our fund raising here..... and making sure every penny we spent will make something different to the victims and itsfamilies.
AL, would you provide me the group where NL can contact in Rangoon.Thanks. NL will be back to BKK on 11 May 2008.Thank you all.
Please see attached letter for the manager who is running the restaurant to get a deal.
I hope the letterwill help to get better deal. They have experience and resources to supply large amount of meals. You can use it if your plan includes providing foodpackage or large order for many people. It is not necessary to deal only tothat restaurant, if you find better way or better deal elsewhere just goahead. It is all up to you.
I have no objection about water purification tablets carried by the pilot. How about the first batch going with NL. Any problem with customs?
I could make contact with one of my relatives in the city. Most telephonesare not working and will not be working for at least next few weeks.According to them, almost all large trees and telephone/light poles fromcity to Mingaladon fell. Cars line up for two miles to get two gallons ofgas. Only a few buses are running and it cost 1500 kyats to come from ThinGan Gyun to the city.Thank you.
Our friend, HTA just had a contact with his pilot friend in Yangon who is flying for the rescue workers. He said he can take the tablets to the regoin. Ofcourse NL can't go with him but he said he can also guide us the most davasted regions. He is willing to pick up the pills at the airport. Please advise ASAP.
PT, Thx for for the updates.
How much budet do we have left from $5000? It would be ashame to limit buying power because of budget.
Rice bags: yes, please buy them. We will try to raise more money. Consider you have $1000 extra today. I will deposit again today.
Pills: Yes, if NL says they are useful.
Please make judgement on your own on how much to buy with the funding available. NL and you will know better as you see through the situation.
- Just spoke to NL and gave the contact info of KTH. He will go there tonight.
- At the moment he is in Hlaing Tharyar Tshp at local school shelter where 3000 ppl are staying.
There are about 300 families from the neighborhood. According to the headmaster they need some rice, dry food etc. and also if they can have ready made lunch boxes would be great. People seem to be in good health.
- According to him, genereal atmosphere in the city is calm with alot of ppl helping each other out. Must find a way to Delta region.
- Water suppy "Joe Phyu' line is working. Saw the running water in Thuwana, Parami and South Oatkala- Called Myanmar Rice federation and they said they will help arrange the rice
- 1 bag K 17000. How many should we spend?That't it for now. I will call him in about 1hr.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
We have a friend from BKK going to Burma to distribute much needed food and medicines. He will travel as far as he can to help the cyclone victims. The donation will go directly to the victims.
Please let me ( or SS ) knows if you'd like to contribute.
Thank you for your call/donation and generosity. Today, we have transfered $5000 to BKK. Our friend will leave soon in a couple of hours to Yangon. Please see the updates below on where things are. We will keep you posted. We will try our best to do what we can to help. One thing we can do here is raising funds. So we will continue with this effort.
Again, thank you for your kind support.
thadu thadu thadu
Many Many Thanks.... you guys are awesome...
We will make every effort to execute immediate plan and long-term plan as you suggested with careful steps and planning. And we will see biggerpicture once you have full report of the situation.
Be careful and be well for yourself too.
NL and PT,
Thank you so much for the time and efforts spent on this. We are lucky to have you at the front line to help.
Here are the easy to read instructions on how to use the water purification pills. I think people need less technical information and more straight forward steps at times like this. Perhaps you can hand the hard copies out with the pills. Please change as necessary.
Good luck with the trip! Thanks,
I'm so glad that you've got the updates regularly through PT, so nothing much more to add on that. We've received the funds in our account and thanks for your generosity indeed. It will make our activities easier/faster and we will be fully accountable for every cents.
- Get more food and supplies in YGN
- Distribute all goods and supplies (to places as far as I can go, Shwepyithar, South Dagon are the best bets at this point based on the information received. Need to be realistic here even though I wanted to go as far as to Bogalay)
- Assess the situations (the scope of the assessment cannot be predetermined) - Report back to you
- If possible, to find ways of getting the rice, food, and medical supplies at reasonable prices and reachable places
- Secured more Water Purification Tablets and other medicine from the suppliers and distribute as needed
- Hope to get a regular contact person(s)/point(s) in YGN to coordinate donation efforts - Continue with brainstorming and bring more ideas and future plans I think we're on the right track now in terms of getting the right supplies based on some reports. Next is to execute properly in every steps, both short and long-terms. Hope that other people can join us, guide us, support us, and/or lead us all the way...
I guess that's for now.
How to contact:
None of us can call Yangon at this point. We can only contact you through email when you get there.
Food distribution - outsource through local restaurant
HA will try to send PT email with attachment letter to show to his relatives who own the restaurant in Yangon. He still cannot contact them so NL can print and bring this letter and show them. See if they can arrange or do the food packaging and distribution. They may or may not depending on their stock and situation. Please arrange the price with them.
Please be careful and be safe.
NL is flying tomorrow morning and I will be here in BKK. So far one of 3 mobile phones are working. Please try to call him to get the latest news as he may not be able to reach any of us.
12,000 Water purification tablets - Done.
20,000 tablets of Tylenol
600 packets ORS powder
300 3 in 1 packets of Oat Meal
150 3 in 1 packets of Milo
390 3 in 1 packets of Ovatine
The last 3 items total is only about US $95, I bought it since alot of ppl in Myanmar like to drink these when they are not well. We may have one of our friend going to Yangon this weekend and he is willing to take the things for us. I am going to bed now, I will talk to you all very soon.
NA, attached, purification tablets for translation. The one we have is first table, first line 1litre = 1 tablets and 10 mins
Thank you to all.
I think we must get more water purification tablets though. There may be more people than we expected and even now the death toll is still rising.
May I also suggest to get latex gloves and surgery masks for the group overthere already helping hands and some kind of sanitation materials. I am sure they may have shortage in supplies. The air must be polluted overthere with foul smells of so many dead bodies.
Water, Dry Food Packages and Sanitation materials are a must now. What we can do from our end is to gather fund to support and distributed properly with coordination from PT and NL. You guys must be strong in health and all area as well at the front line. BE Cautious as well!!!
SS, I got about $500 as well and will give it to you once I have gathered them all. Lets keep reaching out.
We should start collecting donation for our people from our friends, our families and our colleagues. I started to collect the donation which will go through our friend who is working in Thailand. He will go to Myanmar personally in this week. He will take water purification tablets and some medicine with him. As we know all the water source are contaminated. One of our friends' relative are doing the restaurant business and they can do the lunch boxes or cooking at monasteries for people who need without profit by doing that service. Please let me know when you are ready. You may donate through all the links I sent in alternate way.
Our people need help desperately and we can't wait more. As far as time is running there may be more damage to our Burmese people.
So, please try to help our people.
1. I hear that there is shortage of food supplies, in addition to high prices. Perhaps, you can bring preserved and dry foods.
2. A friend of mine from Australia say she has contact with people who can help with distribution of the pills. If you need their help, let me know and I will get you in touch with them.
3. Send me the instructions on the pill. I will have it translated and send it back to you.
As you know, after the Cyclone many have died and many are suffering in Myanmar right now with rising food prices and shortage of water.
Many of us want to help and donate but we may not know how. We have contacted friends in Bangkok, who will be going to Yangon with supplies such as water purifying tablets, medicine, etc. We will be supporting them to help distribute food and supplies. They will keep us inform of the status and their needs from Yangon. There is another friend in Yangon providing food for 100 kids who has no family or the family couldn't care for them.
As we cannot go there and help physically, we can support those who are in the field. Time is critical and many are in need. We should send money asap in any amount through all channels.
If you wish to donate, please let me know.
Here is what we got so far..
Water purification tablets - 12,000 tablets and each tablet can purify 1 Liter of water
total cost US$1000 Should we buy more?
There is also 1 tablet that can purify 60 liter but we haven't order that yet. Should we order?
Please advise asap.
Today, I've tried to look for those tablets around pharmacies, red cross, OCHA, but nowhere to be found. I'm planning to fly to Yangon soon and hope to get some supplies with me. I'll keep you posted and the time is running out.
Monday, May 5, 2008
All of your ideas are good, I just donated $500 last night, I have connection to Yangon, my friend is helping about 100 kids for foods and shelters. So I just sent money to her. She needs money for foods , rice for those kids who has no family or the family couldn't provide for them.
All of us should send $ immediately to many channels and areas!!!
I am pretty sure water supplies and rivers are already contaminated. But according to my friend here, her mom lives in Mayangone Tsp and they are pumping water up thru Ah-we-si -twin (undersground Well? ) and giving away to the neighbors and friends. I think most people have that water pump system but without electricity they can't pump the water up. Definately water purification tablets will be very useful.
I spoke to some friends and their suggestion is to buy food (rice, beans etc) from near by town of Ygn and transport it into the city. If we can find a restaurant to help us with the dirtribution of food etc. to the needy areas will be great.
Medicine and water tables etc might not be avilable there so we might have to buy it here.
Will email you soon.
To summarize, we can start with these:
- Purification tablets tablets (I think it is the best idea and most cost effective because water is already there, it is not just usable/drinkable.)
- As PT mentioned, we can help getting water from the existing wells. I assume some people already have generators, but running those generators is a big a problem because gas is costly. We can already start with the funds we have for gas. Heard gas is $10 a gallon there now. We can start small. I think people need to drink, they won't last without water. We can adjust if it doesn't work.
- Some of us suggested preserve food, ready made, high energy bars, etc.
- Deliver in monasteries first?
I don't think we have much time. We can start with what we have. We have $2500 in hand to start with. We will continue to raise some funds.
We will make mistakes but we will learn and adjust. Time is critical that we need to act fast, not much time to think.
Water supplies and rivers may be contaminated after a storm like this.
We should send them water purification tablets or even chlorine bleach with Burmese instructions on how to use them. ( 16 drops of bleach per gallon ).
As for the shelter, we should send plastic sheets. They can use it as a basic shelter or keep their belonging dry from rain. They will need medicine for diarrhea and other infectious disease. I don't know what other diseases are common this time of the year.
May we should ask a Burmese doctor with field experience for suggestion. This is just to get them through a few days. People will need to get back on their foot. Fishermen need their boats and farmers need their fields. I hope the government accept all the helps from international agencies.
We have not been able to contact anyone in Yangon for 3 days and without inside info it is very difficult to assess the situation.
But I am sure the after match of the cyclone disaster will only get bigger as people go more desperate.
- I think medicine, food and clean water will be most useful. I have to talk to some people to see what will be the most cost efficient way to send food and medicine.
- Water --- Most people in Yangon are equipped with wells but since there is no electricity so they can't pull up the water . If we can give small generator then we can can set up a water supply station for most people and this will be the most cost effient and most productive way. I have to find out the cost and people to help us.
- I don't think we need tents as most monastries can provide shelter to people.
Some of us here briefly meet during lunch time to see what we can do. We thought you may have better information on what's happening in Yangon. Please let us know if you have any information on how we can help. From our side we can donate some funds and some ideas but for implementation, we need more information and discussion with you and among ourselves on how we can go about it.
1. See HA's email working with local restaurants.
2. Prepare some preserved food packages in BKK or neibouring countries and deliver in Yangon.
The current need is "Food and Shelter".
I have a relative running a restaurant. If they agree, they could give special price (discount) for food packages to provide neediest in poorarea. Or, they could arrange food services to monastery where many people are depending on food and shelter.
It is possible to buy shelters (tents) here. But it will be much more economical in Thailand. But we need arrangement to send them into thecountry and distribute them.
Let's talk more on this subject. I got to got to meeting at 11:00.
We are a group of volunteers and concerned friends, joining hands with brothers and sisters around the world and trying to help the victims of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar.
We are not affiliated with any groups which allow us to mobilize our resources freely, quickly and without any overhead (we will raise funds among ourselves to cover overhead costs, so 100% of your donations will go to the victims.) We seek advice from anyone who can help, and join forces with anyone or any group helping the victims.
We are raising:
(1) awareness of the plight of victims in the worst hit areas;
(2) funds to help bring water purification tablets, rice and other basic supplies.
We are in contact with people on the ground helping the victims. And we will find ways to get help to the victims when they need it most: NOW!
Let's get on with it. Survivors are waiting.
As you have heard, Cyclone in Myanmar has destroyed many homes and left many citizens without food and water. As the news article said, the government is welcoming assistance from international community. UN, UNCIEF and Redcross teams will be assessing the situation. I am not sure when and how they will be helping.
How about us? Is there anything we can do? We can raise money but how can we donate them effectively? Do you have any idea? Many people have been suffering already with rising food prices and now with this disaster, I just couldn't imagine how one is coping with the situation.
We have $2,549.35 balance in MEAA funds. If you agree, we can donate this amount at this time when it is most needed. Please do share your thoughts how we should donate this and how we can raise funds. If you know any one who is organizing or working on this, please share the information with us.
One idea from the article: It is very likely that people may turn to monasteries to have temporary shelter. Should we donate funds to cover basic food at the monasteries?
From news article: "… With his home destroyed by the storm, Tin Hla said he has had to place his family of five into one of the monasteries that have offered temporary shelter to those left homeless…."