I've been doing things here, kind of quietly, but intensely.
Spoke with Foundation for the People of Burma, and have been in email
contact with US Embassy in Yangon, etc.
DISASTER RELIEF PHASES - and realities
A couple broad points:
1)WE ARE IN THE - OFTEN RATHER SHORT - EMERGENCY PHASE:
trying to rescue stranded people, reach and take care of bad injuries,
provide clean water, water purification, food, and fuel, clear roads,
remove dangerous things and dead bodies.
(this phase may be longer in the far parts of the delta,
and the countryside east from Yangon)
2)THEN COMES THE - MUCH LONGER - RECOVERY AND REBUILDING PHASE:
Building shelter for people: sometimes temporary. Establish adequate water,
power, garbage, medical systems - sometimes temporary until long term
can be built. Care for orphans, or traumatized victims.
3)THEN - LONG TERM REBUILDING
done with higher safety and longevity standards.
This is a long term problem, and Burma will need just as much money - actually more money -
in a month, and 2 and 3 and 6 and 10 months, etc.
And, this is the BEGINNING of the monsoon season.
Money that is donated and collected has to be spread out, for this particular disaster - and money will
have to be donated and collected again, and again.
Sources in Burma, and just coming back, say there is a lot of aid money in Yangon,
but the things that are needed to buy with the money: water purification tablets,
shelter material, food staples, medical supplies -are not quite there yet.
They need these things ASAP, and they are mostly arriving soon - hopefully.
HOWEVER, getting these things to the far-flung areas is still nearly impossible,
or very difficult. It's not so much a money issue at the moment.
The point is: do everything we can, and also realize that in a lot of similar situation, the interest and hard
work fades away - often before the second phase 2 is completed. People get overloaded, and burnt-out.
If it can't get into phase 3, then we haven't completed our job.
SO - pace yourselves, and realize that Burma needs our energy and commitment FOR A LONG TIME.
(If you've read my reports of the work I do in Burma, I pace myself at high-speeds)
Even after all the deaths are tallied, and all the damage is assessed, Burma will STILL need
a lot from us. If it can't get into phase 3, then we haven't completed our job.
DONATION MONEY doesn't all have to be sent off immediately. Just as when a country pledges a large amount
it's rarely all delivered at once. Because, miss-use, ill-use, or worse, can happen in chaotic conditions.
Let's collect as much as we can, and dole it out with clarity and purpose. And then again later, and again.
Money can't be wired or transmitted to Burma - it's carried in.
There are people going to Burma that can carry money in at times -
I'm meeting someone tomorrow that's going in soon, I'm going in June 1,
others will be going. It can be doled out to agencies in Burma, or to specific needs, etc.
It is nice to have some 'personal human connections' to: an orphanage, school, village, widow, etc.
Hoping for Hope in Burma