MCC.org: MCC helps provide relief to Myanmar cyclone survivors

AKRON, Pa. – Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is supporting Church World Service (CWS) in providing relief to survivors of a catastrophic cyclone in the southeast Asian nation of Myanmar, also known as Burma.

MCC is providing an initial $20,000 to CWS to distribute water purification tablets, water containers and other supplies to provide clean drinking water to people affected by the cyclone. According to news reports, the cyclone flooded wells and other water sources, putting survivors at risk of contracting waterborne diseases.

In communication with partner organizations, MCC is identifying further ways to provide relief in Myanmar after what has become the country’s worst natural disaster in living memory.

Cyclone Nargis made landfall on May 2 in Myanmar’s delta region, driving a storm surge over coastal areas. According to news reports, the cyclone claimed tens of thousands of lives and devastated an area that is home to several million people.

News reports have highlighted the difficulty that some aid organizations are facing in obtaining governmental permission to enter Myanmar and provide supplies. According to Tom Wenger, MCC’s associate director for Asia, CWS already has staff members and supplies in the country.

MCC’s support will help CWS provide drinking water to about 3,000 to 4,000 people who have been affected by the cyclone.

MCC has committed $100,000 to support relief and recovery efforts in Myanmar. Contributions should be designated “Myanmar (Burma) relief and recovery” and may be made online at mcc.org/donate or at any MCC office.

(emphasis added in the blockquote is my own)

I hope you’ll consider making a donation to MCC. I am biased towards them because I’m Mennonite (and Moses Mast, our former pastor at Joy Mennonite is on the Central States MCC board) but also because they tend to find ways to provide aid to supposedly closed countries, by working through other groups on the ground in those countries. (i.e. MCC is one of the few groups providing aid to the North Korean people)

On another, the disaster in Burma has made me think of one of my favorite (and most sad) Kimya Dawson songs. I’m going to share the lyrics to it, but would recommend getting her album Remember that I love you to hear it. Reading the lyrics is pretty jarring but hearing them sung, it just hits me with pain and hurt more than anything, and I think it is the kind of pain we need to feel, that we must feel when others are suffering around us.

one of her babies is rotting in the sun
and the other one was found drowned in the ocean
her mom and dad are in their van crushed and bloated
and her husband was thrown from his fishing boat
so please give me a break from all your complaining
about who was mean to you and how your stepdad is a pain
– i care, i swear, but i just can’t take it, not today
all i can think about are tsunamis and earthquakes

everything she’s ever known is gone, gone, gone
everyone she’s ever loved is gone, gone, gone
the only reason she’s alive is
she grabbed a palm frond and held on
and held on

you can call me crazy but it seems to me we could
have sent more than we spend in one day killing iraqis
to help the hundreds of thousands
who are injured and diseased
and hungry and homeless and without families
i’m appalled by our government’s initial reaction
and the fact that they asked for a verbal retraction
from the folks who called them stingy
they’re just covering their assets
well, they thank their greedy god for wiping out the lower class

we’d have 12/26 tattoed across our foreheads
if something this atrocious happened on our coast instead
well, a tragedy’s a tragedy no matter where it happens
close your eyes really tight and imagine
that everything you’ve ever known is gone
and everything you’ve ever loved is gone
and the only reason you’re alive is you were lucky
and you were strong enough to hold on
while you watched your family die
while you watched your family die
while you watched your family die
while you watched your family die

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