Smriti Kak Ramachandran

Unhappy with the pace of rescue work in Myanmar

NEW DELHI: Unable to reach out to their families and friends in cyclone-hit Myanmar, and unhappy with the pace of rescue work in the country, Burmese nationals living in Delhi have begun collecting money and garnering support to help the affected people.

These Burmese nationals, some of whom have been living in the city for over a decade now, are collaborating with the monks and celebrities who are involved in the aid work back in Myanmar.

“Since getting clothes or medicines into Burma is difficult, we are collecting money that we will send to the organisations run by the monks and celebrities that are involved in the rescue and rehabilitation,” said Mr. Kim, who is the coordinator of the Committee for Relief Fund for Cyclone (Nargis) Survivors in Burma (India).

“Initially we wanted to open a bank account where everyone who wants to help could send money. But since the committee is not registered, we had to look for other avenues to send help. We are also organising a demonstration in the city this coming Saturday to draw attention to the plight of the Burmese people.”

Members of the Committee for Relief Fund for Cyclone (Nargis) Survivors in Burma (India) said they would also petition the Indian Government to urge Burma to allow more international aid and aid workers to reach Burma and assist in the relief work. “From our friends and families we have found out that a minuscule population of the total affected people have been able to receive help. There are hundreds and thousands who do not even have drinking water, medicines and clothes. The telephone lines are yet to be restored and a large number of children are suffering from diarrhoea,” said Mr. Kim.

The Burmese people based in Delhi have set up centres where donations will be collected. “We are asking everybody to help, from the Burmese to the Indian nationals, non-government organisations and even political parties. We have set up a centre at BCRC Hall, Vikaspuri, Chin Human Rights Organization office (CHRO) and Jantar Mantar and the first despatch of collected donation will be May 17,” said Mr. Kim

The community in India which is 3,000 strong says contrary to what the military junta claims, Myanmar, which was left ravaged by the cyclone that left more than a million homeless, needs international expertise to deal with the destruction.