June 20, 2008
SANTA ANA, Cali.-- 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 seven weeks after Cyclone Nargis left 133,000 dead or missing, the situation is still grave.
Speed is essential since it is now the rainy season and this aggravates the situation of the homeless. Moreover, with the government’s instruction for people to go back to their villages, the need for house reconstruction becomes 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.
Speed is also crucial so that farmers are able 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 responding quickly to the cries for help from our suffering brothers and sisters 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.”
An estimated 200 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with another 200 to 400 million facing discrimination and alienation. Open Doors supports and strengthens believers in the world's most difficult areas through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development, prayer and presence ministry and advocacy on behalf of suffering believers. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to our Website at www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.
Copyright 2008 ASSIST News Service.