United Sikhs Attends Briefing by Myanmar Government to Ban Ki-Moon

We are ensuring that the victims of Cyclone Nargis get access to critically needed food and medical supplies...

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - A United Sikhs director from Malaysia today attended a briefing by the Prime Minister of the Union of Myanmar, General Thein Sein, to U.N. Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon. This was followed by a series of meetings and discussions with other global aid workers on what can be done to expedite the relief process to ensure that the victims of Cyclone Nargis get access to critically needed food and medical supplies.

Myanmar Ambassador U Tin Latt with United Sikhs Directors Sunil Shukvir Singh ( left) and Harbinder Singh ( right)

Sunil Shukvir Singh, the Malaysian Operations Coordinator of United Sikhs Myanmar Disaster Relief, who was granted permission by the Myanmar authorities to fly to the cyclone-devastated country, flew to Yangon courtesy of Air Asia, with a cargo of essential supplies, collected by United Sikhs and its coalition partners, consisting of Malaysian Gurdwaras, (Sikh places of worship), Global Sikhs, Buddhist Maha Vihara, Sathya Sai Central Council of Malaysia and Malaysian Hindu Sangam. Air Asia, Malaysia's budget airline, generously provided free air travel and cargo, enabling him to carry with him half a tonne of infant formula and infant cereals as well as medical supplies.

Sunil Shukvir Singh, who works in the financial sector, was one of the many international relief workers attending the, "Briefing on Relief and Rehabilitation Efforts in the Aftermath of Cyclone Nargis," organized by the Myanmar authorities for Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General, along with other global NGOs who were given access to the country. All present were given the lowdown on the situation, as well as being briefed on what is most critically needed.

Today, the relief workers were slated to be taken on a tour of the hard-hit areas of Yangon and tomorrow to get an aerial view, by helicopter, of the devastation which hit Myanmar two weeks ago.

When contacted over the phone in Yangon, Sunil Shukvir Singh said that one of the requests he had made during the meeting, on behalf of all present, was that the red-tape and bureaucracy facing international relief workers be removed, to allow much needed aid to be sent to the worst-hit areas immediately.

"During the course of the meeting, we were informed that while food and medical supplies are essential to feed and aid victims of the cyclone, what is also required urgently are plastic roofing sheets to provide shelter to the people left homeless in the aftermath of the devastation," he said.

In addition to the supplies air freighted by Air Asia yesterday, there will be another batch of supplies going out today when Project Director of the United Sikhs Relief Mission, Harbinder Singh, flies out to Myanmar this evening, at the invitation of the Myanmar Government and, again, courtesy of Air Asia.

Aid will continue to be transported to Myanmar for as long as the donations keep coming in. Members of the public are urged to either drop off food supplies, such as rice, lentils and canned food or give a donation to any Sikh Gurdwara or the Buddhist Vihara in Brickfields, where volunteers have been mobilized to send the collected items to the United Sikhs collection base at the Kampung Pandan Gurdwara.

Members of the public who wish to make any other contributions to the victims of Cyclone Nargis may also call 012 215 5966 or 012 268 9755 for further information.

United Sikhs has also been working closely with the Sikh Gurdwara in Yangon to prepare hot food communally which has been distributed to the survivors of Cyclone Nargis in the area. More than 2,000 hot meals, on average, are prepared daily and this will increase once the supplies of rice, lentils and canned food collected by United Sikhs arrive in Yangon.

To read previous press releases on United Sikhs Myanmar Disaster Relief, please visit http://www.unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-19-05-2008-00.htm

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