May 17th: Global Day of Action for Burma :
Calling for a Critical Response to Burma's Humanitarian Disaster
On Saturday, May 17, 2008, a Global Day of Action for a critical response to the Burmese humanitarian disaster will take place in cities around the world. We urge you to help make this a day to urge world governments to take action now and save countless lives. Will you hold a fundraiser, demonstrations, or vigil on this day? We are calling on the US, UK, France and other key nations to use whatever assets and means they have to deliver aid to those suffering Burma, even without the approval of the military regime. Many leaders in Europe have already stood up and called for action to force aid in if necessary.
This effort is being pushed by a coalition of organizations around the world, and supported by many groups inside Burma as well. We all cannot stand by as millions more are on the brink of death from starvation and disease. The UN today warned of a "second catastrophe" unless the junta immediately allows massive air and land aid deliveries.
If you can't hold an event but still want to help, we are still accepting donations that are being sent inside Burma. 100% of donations go to groups inside Burma working to bring relief to those in need. You can pay online, or send a check to our office. More info here
The Current Situation in Burma
UN reports the death toll to be around 100,000 with 220,000 missing. 1.5 million are at severe risk if aid does not get in immediately. Instead of allowing aid in and providing the best response to the crisis, the junta is confiscating most of the aid, selling it on the market and distributing contaminated and low quality food. The U.N. said the World Food Program was getting in only 20 percent of the food needed because of logistical problems and regime restrictions.
Yesterday, General Thein Sein, the junta's Prime Minister, said yesterday that no foreigners were allowed to go to the delta region, the worst-hit areas. He spoke to a group of businessmen who were assigned to make relief operation in the delta area, on behalf of the junta. They are also not allowed to bring cameras. International aid agencies operating in Burma warn that only 10% of the logistical staff needed to cope with the millions struggling to survive had arrived in the country.
The military is now even forcing people into camps, similar to prisons. No one is allowed to leave, not even to search for missing family members. They must wear their ID number at all times.
It is very difficult for donations to be given to those in need in some areas. On the way to Labutta, private donors and NGOs are forced by soldiers to hand them half of the rice bags or other donations which are meant for the survivors.
Go around the generals (Washington Post)
Use all means to get aid to Burma, says EU chief (Guardian, UK)
The UN's responsibility to protect (International Herald Tribune, France)