Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Cyclone Victims "Left to Suffer Alone"

An Al Jazeera reporter on the ground in Burma/Myanmar gives an eyewitness report of the devastation and desperation.

" Thousands of survivors from the devastating cyclone in Myanmar are continuing to fend for themselves with no assistance from government or international aid five days after the massive storm hit, Al Jazeera's correspondent has found.

Our correspondent visited a region about 60km from Yangon, the former capital, and found entire villages and factories flattened by the storm in what she said was a scene of "utter devastation".

Farmers in Myanmar's most important rice producing region have lost entire crops and many thousands of already desperately poor people are without food or shelter.

Al Jazeera is not giving the name or location of our correspondent to protect her safety.

"We interviewed farmers we interviewed ordinary village folk and they tell us that no-one has come to help them since the cyclone struck," our correspondent said.

"We also visited a monastery where monks have lost their entire living quarters. They have no food and they have handicapped children to look after.

"The very sad story is that the villagers can't give them any food because they don't have any food themselves."

In devoutly Buddhist Myanmar, giving alms to local monks is an important spiritual duty.

Local residents said they had received no warnings of the approaching storm, by state-run radio or any other means, despite reports that the government had been given two days notice that the storm was on its way.

'Left to suffer'

"We travelled for about six hours yesterday and we didn't see any sign of government help, police or military," our correspondent said.

"We saw international aid workers but they were only assessing the situation. There is no help and no aid getting into these remote areas."

Our correspondent said that travelling back into on Wednesday Yangon she saw rows of empty military trucks by the side of the highway.

"People were standing on the side of the road pointing at the trucks and telling me that they just feel like they have been left to suffer alone."

If your heart is moved to help the people of Myanmar/Burma here are a few organizations to consider:



Save The Children

International Rescue Committee

Mercy Corps

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