SANTA ANA, CA Open Doors reports that thousands of Christians are among 2.4 million still suffering unimaginable pain in parts of Burma (Myanmar). Decaying bodies float in the river tributaries. Mud and water cover land where homes stood. Farm land and seeds for planting are wiped out, along with rice that could have fed families for five months. Despair and hopelessness are etched on the faces of survivors as so many have lost so much.
Almost eight weeks after Cyclone Nargis left 133,000 dead or missing, the situation is still grave.
The situation of the homeless is aggravated with the rainy season upon the region. Moreover, with the government's instruction for people to go back to their villages, the need for house reconstruction is becoming more urgent. Those who cannot return to their homes run the risk of losing their land should the government find that they have re-settled elsewhere.
Farmers are working hard to try to catch up on the planting season. They have a window of less than two weeks now to prepare the land and plant the seeds this month. The Irrawaddy Delta Region is the central and essential "rice bowl" of Burma. If farmers are not able to plant, the whole of Burma will face bigger problems of food supply the following year. While certain parts of the Delta are not drained of salt water and have stored up some saltiness, farm lands farther away from the Bay of Bengal coast are just about ready to produce again.
Open Doors is continuing to the help from survirors in at least two hard-hit villages:
• Supplying rice seeds to plant as quickly as possible
• Providing parts to repair tractors that were damaged by the cyclone
• Helping re-establish livelihood projects for needy families such as raising ducks
• Assisting villagers in the re-construction of over 300 homes
• Providing chain saws and kerosene to cut the fallen trees and clear the area (80 percent of coconut trees fell during the cyclone)
• Providing a boat with motor to provide means of transportation and communication to be supervised by a Burmese pastor.
"Yet, in spite of the overwhelming suffering of so many, the churches in Burma are working hard in relief and rehabilitation work," says Open Doors USA President/CEO Carl Moeller. "They have reached out to the needy in their villages in love and compassion. Please join me in praying for all those suffering in Burma and pray that the supplies may quickly reach those in need."
To contact Open go www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.