Donations needed for Myanmar aid

Thursday, May 8th 2008, 10:18 pm
By: News 9

By Stacey Cameron, NEWS 9

With thousands of people dead and more than a million homeless after a cyclone hit Myanmar, the need for aid became more important as the devastation developed.

When it comes to disaster, the Sooner State knows how to get aid to people in need.

When the world witnessed the 2004 tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, Oklahoma Baptist Relief and Feed the Children were among the first groups on the ground, feeding the hungry and caring for the sick.

Myanmar was hit by a cyclone last weekend, devastating the Southeast Asia country.

As the death tolls increased, Steve Whetstone said aid groups like Feed the Children found themselves blocked at the country's border.

"The Burmese government is not allowing new visas for entry into the country, even for aid workers, or United Nations workers, or anybody." Whetstone said.

As Myanmar's military government worked to keep foreigners out, Whetstone said Feed the Children started to get small amounts of food in.

"We are very fortunate to work with some terrific partners on the ground who have already gotten to some of the areas that are hardest hit," Whetstone said.

The aid is just a fraction of what is needed. After seeing new video of the catastrophe released, Whetstone said he feared thousands are going to die of starvation, dehydration and disease if groups like Feed the Children aren't on the ground soon.

"Well, we heard from our people who have been on the ground, been in the region, that the media just doesn't do it justice," Whetstone said.

He said understanding that the Myanmar disaster is worse than it looks, is important. Aid groups like Feed the Children will have to start thinking about long term relief for the country.

Feed the Children will be heavily reliant on donations. If you'd like to donate, visit their Web site.