Speaking of Super Powers

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.


Save the Children has a page set up for online donations earmarked for the relief effort. (Charity Navigator rating: four stars)

CARE also has a page online for donations. (Charity Navigator rating: four stars).

Church World Service has a dedicated donation page as well. (Charity Navigator rating: four stars).

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).

The International Federation of Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies has a dedicated donation site and has launched a worldwide appeal for funds to assist relief efforts.

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.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Kismet says:

    Oh my gosh, I had not even heard this. How awful.

    My dad’s church has missionaries in India that go into Burma every month. The mission is small, called the Haran Group, but I will try to find out some more information.

    support55- YES!

  2. 2
    Randi says:

    SB Sarah: I was just perusing The Scotsman (a Scottish newspaper) and here is their coverage of the situation. It’s a bit different than what we’re getting here in the US. It seems as though Burma (also known as Myanmar) is not letting in ANY relief agencies, due to fear of spies.


    (I don’t know how to embed…)

  3. 3
    Sartorias says:

    This LiveJournal user lives in Laos, and has links to report centers and places to link where aid is gathering.  It is far worsdse than you think—the next year’s rice crop has been wiped out by the waves.


  4. 4

    According to http://www.avaaz.org the organisation to donate to is the International Burmese Monks Organization, as they’re already in the country and are able to pass money between monasteries using their own networks, thus bypassing regime controls.

    This is according to Avaaz—I (obviously) have no firsthand knowledge of whether this is the best thing to do.

  5. 5
    The F says:

    As I understand, Burma has agreed to let UN aid planes land, however they’re still hampering the aid efforts and it’s going to be devastating on the grounds due to their inability to act quickly and efficiently to avert further crisis. The death and homeless figures are estimated in comparison to the Tsunami of a couple of years ago, and it’s horrifying to think about.

  6. 6
    SB Sarah says:

    Updated to add that Google is directing viewers to a page featuring UNICEF and DirectAid International donation options.

  7. 7

    Sarah, another fantastic organization is World Vision.

    They had info going out within a few hours of landfall asking for help.

    More than 86% of all received donations actually go TO their programs-only like 5% for admin and general stuff.


    Just another good one to consider.

  8. 8
    NHS says:

    In an interview with a Rep from Drs without Borders on NPR this morning the Government of Myanmar is saying they welcome monetary aid but feel they have the manpower to handle the situation. The Dr. did not agree and felt the risk of an epidemic from the aftermath is very high.

  9. 9
    Marianne McA says:

    In the UK the news is giving:


    which is an umbrella organisation for various aid agencies.

  10. 10
    liz says:

    I sent this to a friend who works in aid and just came back from a long term in tsunami land. I’ll report back.

  11. 11
    Peep says:

    Doctors without Borders is an excellent organization and they always deliver to remote areas that are hardest hit by disasters. The rate of typhoid, cholera and other deadly diseases hitting Burma after this catastrophe will add to the death toll, especially since people are now dumping corpses into the river (often a source of drinking water for many poor countries.)

  12. 12
    lijakaca says:

    I hope this works this time – I second the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) recommendation, I’ve heard that they are far more efficient and useful than many other aid organizations.

    I personally wouldn’t donate to World Vision because I’ve heard that their aid is tied to religious aims – i.e. converting people.

  13. 13

    If you live in or near CT, you can help in a more direct fashion.


    CT is collecting food and water for direct delivery.

  14. 14

    To be more specific, Americare and Save the Children are both CT based and are collecting food and medicine (Americare) and money (STC).

  15. 15
    Rachel says:

    I’ve never posted before, but I am a volunteer for Samaritan’s Purse, and they are collecting donations for the people of Myanmar as well.  According to the email I received, they had a team of water specialists already there when the storm hit.  Here is a link to that if anyone is interested: http://www.samaritanspurse.org/MP_Article.asp?ArticleID=158

    We are rated 4 stars on Charity Navigator as well.

  16. 16
    Randi says:

    I’m hoping someone here might have some additional information for me. I was going to donate to avaaz but was curious about something. Even if the International Burmese Monks Organization received money, what are they going to do with it? If there’s nothing to buy (food, water, tents, medicine, etc), then what purpose will the money provide? Alternatively, how sure are we that Doctors without Borders is actually getting supplies into Burma? Isn’t this the whole problem…not that there is a dearth of supplies and money available, but that we can’t get them into the country?

  17. 17
    Kalen Hughes says:

    Yep, Randi, that is the problem. The junta says they’ll take the money, food, etc., but they don’t want the aid workers. This means we have no guarantees that the aid will reach the people. And CNN is not reporting that estimates of the number killed are closer to 100K!

    It looks like they’re trying to wait out the international community and frustrate aid orgs until everyone gets so worried and desperate that they just hand over the aid without actual workers to oversee it’s distribution.

    I’ll donate $ when I see who can actually get in and do something with it . . .

  18. 18
    NHS says:

    Here’s the Link to NPR’s Coverage and the interview with the head of DWB in the area. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90245806

  19. 19
    Kalen Hughes says:

    now. not not. NOW. CNN is NOW reporting . . .

    verification word: changes88

  20. 20
    Randi says:

    Kalen, I’m with you. I would really like to donate money or supplies, or both, but only if I know it’s going to get the the general public, not just the military. Well, hopefully, a resolution will occurr soon. Keep us updated everyone!

  21. 21
    Jane O says:

    I have a relative with personal experience of Myanmar and I share Kalen’s doubts about any donations actually going to the people so long as aide workers are kept out. On the other hand, maybe these organizations will eventually be let in and they’ll need to have money and supplies in hand …

  22. 22
    Anj says:

    This site:
    US Campaign for Burma
    is accepting donations as well.
    Although I don’t know that they are a better place to send your money, it is very informational. Also, there is a place where you can send the UN an e-mail requesting special aid for Burma. And I tend to think something with so many famous people (who probably have researched well because it’s their reputation) behind it is pretty legit.

    Although I will not say I stand behind the whole site. I only found them a few days ago.

  23. 23
    Ann Bruce says:

    World Vision was able to get visas to go into the country, so I recommend donating your dollars to them.

    spam: care96

    Very appropriate.

  24. 24
    AgTigress says:

    The greatest problem is that the appalling ruling Burmese junta is so paranoid and so protective of its own position that it would rather see its citizens die in their thousands than allow other countries to help.  It is a heartbreaking situation.
    Current estimates now suggest as many as 100,000 dead.

  25. 25
    Kalen Hughes says:

    I think I’m more comfortable with OxFam. I have a lot of faith in them.

  26. 26
    lijakaca says:

    Aid workers ARE in Myanmar already, the trouble is getting visas for more to come in, and getting permission for UN/other helicopters etc. to go in.

    MSF/Doctors without Borders info on what they’re doing in Myanmar:

  27. 27
    lijakaca says:

    Sorry to double post >.


    A couple more groups who are already in Myanmar:

    This page says they’ve gotten permission for a plane to land with supplies.
    UN World Food Programme

    The World Food Programme (WFP) has sent four aircraft loaded with critically needed food and other relief items to Myanmar. A total of 45 metric tons of high-energy biscuits is expected to arrive in Yangon early Thursday on two WFP-chartered aircraft from Dhaka, Bangladesh, and one from Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.A fourth aircraft from Brindisi, Italy, is carrying 25 metric tones of emergency response equipment paid for by Italy.

  28. 28
    Kate says:

    Here’s the moveon letter I got

        Dear friends,
    Burma has been devastated by a cyclone—and by the military junta’s failure to help its people cope. Help raise relief funds for distribution by Burma’s monks:

    In the wake of a massive cyclone, tens of thousands of Burmese are dead. More than 40,000 are missing. A million are homeless.

    But what’s happening in Burma is not just a natural disaster—it’s also a catastrophe of bad leadership.

    Burma’s brutal and corrupt military junta failed to warn the people, failed to evacuate any areas, and suppressed freedom of communication so that Burmese people didn’t know the storm was coming when the rest of the world did. Now the government is failing to respond to the disaster and obstructing international aid organizations.

    Humanitarian relief is urgently needed, but Burma’s government could easily delay, divert or misuse any aid. Today the International Burmese Monks Organization, including many leaders of the democracy protests last fall, launched a new effort to provide relief through Burma’s powerful grass roots network of monasteries—the most trusted institutions in the country and currently the only source of housing and support in many devastated communities. Click below to help the Burmese people with a donation and see a video appeal to Avaaz from a leader of the monks:


    Giving to the monks is a smart, fast way to get aid directly to Burma’s people. Governments and international aid organizations are important, but face challenges—they may not be allowed into Burma, or they may be forced to provide aid according to the junta’s rules. And most will have to spend large amounts of money just setting up operations in the country. The monks are already on the front lines of the aid effort—housing, feeding, and supporting the victims of the cyclone since the day it struck. The International Burmese Monks Organization will send money directly to each monastery through their own networks, bypassing regime controls.

    Last year, more than 800,000 of us around the world stood with the Burmese people as they rose up against the military dictatorship. The government lost no time then in dispatching its armies to ruthlessly crush the nonviolent democracy movement—but now, as tens of thousands die, the junta’s response is slow and threatens to divert precious aid into the corrupt regime’s pockets.

    The monks are unlikely to receive aid from governments or large humanitarian organizations, but they have a stronger presence and trust among the Burmese people than both. If we all chip in a little bit, we can help them to make a big difference.

    Click here to donate:


    With hope,

    Ricken, Ben, Graziela, Paul, Iain, Veronique, Pascal, Galit and the whole Avaaz team

    PS: Here are some links to more information:

    For more information about Avaaz’s work to support the Burmese people, click here: http://www.avaaz.org/en/burma_report_back/

    For more information about the cyclone, the humanitarian crisis, and the political dimension, see these articles:

    New York Times: “A Challenge Getting Relief to Myanmar’s Remote Areas.” 7 May 2008.

    BBC: “Will Burma’s leaders let aid in?” 6 May 2008.

    India’s Economic Times: Indian meteorological department advised junta 48 hours in advance, 6 May 2008.

    BBC: “Disaster tests Burma’s junta.” 5 May 2008

    Times Online: “Aid workers fear Burma cyclone deaths will top 50,000.” 6 May 2008.


    Avaaz.org is an independent, not-for-profit global campaigning organization that works to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people inform global decision-making. (Avaaz means “voice” in many languages.) Avaaz receives no money from governments or corporations, and is staffed by a global team based in London, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Paris, Washington DC, and Geneva.

  29. 29
    Julie Leto says:

    I’m afraid I’m holding out as well.  That junta could care less about those people…those killed or the survivors.  They’ll take the money and buy more guns or food for the “favored.”  They’ll live high on the hog and people will starve and die of horrible diseases.  Well, not with my money.  Not until I know that the international community is supervising what happens.  It’s horribly tragic and sad…horrible.  I just think of the children and my soul weeps.  But I can’t contribute to the problem!

  30. 30
    Julie Leto says:

    Murder by Cyclone.  That’s a new one.  (Okay, I know it’s not…but you get my point.)  I’m horrified.

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