CNN is now reporting that up to 100,000 people have died from the cyclone that hit Burma. The scale of this disaster is hard to even imagine, and relief is urgently needed. In the wake of a massive cyclone, the scale of death is hard to imagine. 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.
So, how could anyone lend a hand in such a fouled system without worrying that anything you might offer will end up in the bastard's pockets (ala the U.N.'s food-for-oil program). It's remarkable in it's testement to the determination of people driven by their own sense of good will but there is a way. The link below will take you to a page in which you can make a small donation that will be funneled into the disaster relief effort. 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:
Like never before the world's eyes are on Burma and the sheer evil of the country's criminal leaders. This could be an opportunity for democratic minded governments and organizations. However, much more importantly, the need is real and people with a conscience have a way to offer some help. Donations of any size are accepted and easy to make. Please consider that the tally of donaters could send a powerful message of hope to the people and an equally strong message to their corrupt leaders that they are not isolated no matter how much they smother their own people.