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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat
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    Burma relief efforts - Project "Beyond Rangoon"

    This is from a friend of mine....

    Project "Beyond Rangoon"

    Good Morning All,

    I am writing to give you some information on the humanitarian aid in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis. As most of you know I am living in Burma and in doing so have been able to contribuite to the aid effort. I have been working with some local organizations since the beginning and myself with a few other friends and co-workers have branched out and created our own project called 'Beyond Rangoon'.
    We have thus far made 7 successful trips south of Rangoon mostly trying to reach the township of Lehkkokon. We started off with limited funds and 2 vehicles and have been able to successfully increase to convoys of 2 large trucks and 3 vehicles. Our mission is to try and reach as many people as we can in the small far off villages where aid has not yet reached due to poor road conditions and compromised bridges.

    This past Saturday we were able to reach a village (approx 1500 people) just a few miles short of Lehkkokon where we were the first aid this village had seen since the storm in addition to 5 other villages on the way. With determination and the help of all the volunteers that came with we were able to provide this village with 90 sacks of rice (9,000 lbs), cooking oil, tarps, clothing, dried fish, water and blankets. We are headed back with 2 more trucks (rice, beans, tarps, fish, medical supplies, water, cooking oil, pots, clothing)and will try to reach even further this time. Financially we started with donations from various people and groups and have been working with Foundation for the People of Burma who have been able to take your donations via their website and allocate the funds for us.

    For that we thank them and you for your contributions. We have created a flickr site that you can access to see pictures of our efforts and the trips we have taken.

    Flickr: Beyond Rangoon Project's Photostream



    They are soliciting donations also, but I wasn't sure if it was appropriate or necessary on this forum, if you really do want to do so PM me

  2. #2
    I am in Jail

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    PM me and let me know the score, KW

  3. #3
    The cold, wet one
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    This guy is genuine & you can vouch for him? Just cautious after the news of the Junta appropriating aid.

    If so, please pm me details, KW.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by November Rain
    This guy is genuine & you can vouch for him? Just cautious after the news of the Junta appropriating aid.
    Girl actually, 100% genuine, a personal friend of mine. She's been living there for a couple of years.

    PM on the way.

    BTW - thanks to everyone who has replied, I will not publicly name you (unless you want me to) as some people prefer it that way.

    And those that havent replied, that's also ok.

  5. #5
    I am in Jail

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    ^ The San Francisco office said folks in Thailand can donate via credit card. I sent a cheque as she (Susan) said they have enough funds for now...

  6. #6
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    an update & more pics

    Report for relief Trip #8 conducted on Friday, 23 May to Letkokkon area

    Photos of Trip #8: Trip #8 (23 May 2008) - a set on Flickr

    Photos of all trips: Project Beyond Rangoon - a set on Flickr

    It has been more than 20 days after the cyclone hit the city of Rangoon , and on the surface everything looks like it is going back to normal. However, in areas outside the city, such as Irrawaddy Division and Southern Rangoon division, people are still suffering greatly. Last Friday, May 23, Project Beyond Rangoon , with the help of many volunteers and donors, brought another relief convoy to villages along the road to the town of Letkokkon , in Southern Rangoon Division. We left Rangoon at 0730 with two trucks and two SUV’s, along with 18 volunteers. We passed through towns such as Kawhmu and Kungyangon, which have been receiving more relief supplies and assistance than the rural areas. There are now no longer children and women on the streets begging for donations, but we attribute this more to the fact that the government has told them that they must go back to their homes and villages. We fear that this will cut off their access to food and supplies that they were receiving from a lot of the private donors who would drive out from Rangoon .

    As we passed into the rural areas past Kungyangon, we were disappointed to find out that after more than three weeks the villages along the way to Letkokkon have not received any aid besides what we have provided on previous trips. The conditions of the road from Kungyangon to Letkokkon are still the same, but it turns even worse the closer that you get to of Letkokkon. After four hours of driven we arrived to small village called Hmawbi. We stopped to talk to the head monk – the same one who has helped us on our previous trips. We first encountered him on Trip #6 walking back from Kungyangon where he had gone to plead for food for his people. All they had given him was a small bottle of oil. We ended up leaving him supplies with him for his village. When we returned on Trip #7 and were able to make it to villages farther down the road, we found that he had shared the rice for his village with all the surrounding villages, which had received no aid and were starving.

    Then we continued with our trip until we reached the village called Pi Taw Tar, where we provided them with enough rice to feed the whole village for at least 15 days, in addition to other supplies such as detergent, soaps, clothing, and beans. The leader seemed to be a little confused and surprised to see us, because they did not expect anybody to go and help them. Of course, after more than 2 weeks they have lost hope for help and they are trying to continue with their regular routine although they have little left after the cyclone. They have lost most of their livestock and many houses have been destroyed; they are trying to use the debris and remnants to build new homes.

    At this point, it had been more than eight hours since we Rangoon and the conditions of the road started to get worse. We had not gone past this point on previous trips because the road was washed out, but now it was repaired just enough that we could just barely pass. Further down, we encountered a group of people seating along a small bridge. We thought at the beginning that they were waiting for the bus. Then we realized that they were living on the bridge, since it was the highest point around hadn’t been flooded. The leader in charge of this village called Poe Laung told us that they were waiting for help. They used to be a village of 27 families with 30 houses, but now only four houses remained. They were staying close to the bridge waiting for help, but unfortunately nobody had been there before except the head monk of Hmawbi who had shared some sacks of rice and other supplies with them. Suddenly, this same monk appeared in front of us in a boat, on his way to help another more remote village. This monk is amazing and really cares about his people. Later on the way back we would run into him again, this time on a bicycle going to yet another village!, In any event, we gave pens, crayons and paper to the villagers of Poe Laung so they could sit down and began to draw their experiences from the cyclone. This served as both a therapeutic activity and something fun for their children. We have put some of the drawings on our Flickr site.
    After this, we also provided more supplies to two more villages which were also in bad condition, but nothing compared to the almost total loss for the villagers from Poe Laung. Later we reached a couple of towns near Letkokkon where we found the leaders carrying satellites phones. These towns were much bigger than the villages we had just visited and contained maybe three to four thousand people. Although, they told us that they needed help, we were able to see that the government has been providing them with rice and other donations. Later we learned from some of the local residents that many people in these two villages were not happy with the distribution system, as the town leaders were not giving out supplies fairly. We did not provide them with any aid because (1) we did not have enough supplies for all of them and (2) we knew that in some way they are getting help from the Burmese government.

    At this point it was almost 6:00 pm and we are just 10 miles from the main town of Letkokkon . This area of road had just recently opened up and we could still see lots of dead cow carcasses and rice fields flooded with sea water. We stopped in a town with more than one thousand people waiting. Here we encountered Burmese Army Captain. He was very friendly but told us politely that in order for us to continue with our trip we needed to have authorization from the Burmese Government. He proceeded to call his superiors in Rangoon and Kungyangon but he could not reach them, so were forced to wait. Finally, after about a half hour, we decided that we could not wait any longer, as it was almost 7:00 pm and we needed to come back to Yangon . Our trucks at this point were half empty, but still carried at least 50 to 60 sacks or rice and many other supplies. We decided to go back to Hmawbi and leave all the rest of the supplies to the head monk, as we knew that he would distribute the supplies fairly to the other villages in need. We finally got back to Rangoon around 11:30 p.m. that night.

    Total relief items delivered on trip #8: 120 50-kilo bags of rice; 2 60-kilo bags of garlic; 2 60-bags of potatoes; 2 60-kilo bags of onions; 6 60-kilo sacks of beans; 150 1-litre bottles of oil; 160 kilos of dried fish; 300 bars of soap; 100 boxes of mosquito coils; 100 cans of tuna; 30 mosquito nets; 500 packages of dried noodles; 10 rain-catchers for fresh water; 30 tarps; 10 (300ft) rolls of tarp; 80 cans of condensed milk; 600 packages of coffee mix; 300 bottles of water; donated clothes and shoes; 400 packages of biscuits; 1 sack of ginger; 100 ponchos; 20 umbrellas; 100 lighters; cooking utensils; medical supplies (paracetamol, ORS, iodine, etc), 500 candles, 100 flashlights; paper, crayons, and markers; 300 blankets; 100 towels; half sack of fish paste powder (for seasoning).

    Thank you again for all your support and we will keep you updated with our next trip this Sat. For donations please go to Foundation for People of Burma: About FPB and specify 'Beyond Rangoon' Project. We will send you updates from the following address: beyondrangoonproject[at]yahoo.com

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