There are few people more informed than the people who read this site (hi, folks) so I want to ask you who are better informed than I am about Myanmar/Burma and that region in the world. Currently, news reports list at least 22,000 people as casualties of Cyclone Nargis. According to Reuters reports, international relief and aid is somewhat compromised because those requesting a visa to enter the country for relief purposes are not being granted entrance by the military junta in Burma. One report from the Times Online estimates that the government totals released from Burma could be very low, and a more accurate casualty count could reach double the presently published number:
The latest official death toll was 22,500, according to Burmese state media. But even after three days there has been no comprehensive survey. Assuming that there are many casualties to be revealed, and that a significant proportion of the 41,000 listed as “missing” are dead, the final toll will be much higher.
“We’re looking at 50,000 dead and millions of homeless,” Andrew Kirkwood, country director of the British charity Save The Children told The Times. “I’d characterise it as unprecedented in the history of Burma and on an order of magnitude with the effect of the tsunami on individual countries. There might well be more dead than the tsunami caused in Sri Lanka.”
So, what to do, where to go, how to help? Any suggestions?
According to the Wikipedia article, very few organizations have operations already located within Burma, and those that do are accepting donations to help relief efforts. But I’m curious if anyone reading has suggestions or knowledge that might give me and other readers an indication which organizations can offer the most direct aid.
Below the fold are links to the organizations highlighted within the Wiki article that offer online donations earmarked for the Burma relief effort and who indicate that they are already within the country, if you are interested for more information.
Doctors without Borders does not indicate a specific area of donation, but they state that they have teams already in Yangon, and are spreading their efforts toward the areas nearer to the coast. (Charity Navigator rating: four stars).
ETA: Google is directing users to UNICEF and Direct Relief International.
ETA: From reader Sharon comes the Network for Good blog entry which lists a panoply of options for donation.
ETA: Ann Aguirre is hosting a contest wherein any donations enter the donating person for a drawing to win $150 in gift cards to the book store of the winner’s choosing.