Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - 350 tonnes of food and medicine supplies sea-shipped by UNITED SIKHS have reached Myanmar and cleared for distribution to the towns of Labutta and, Bogale and Kangyaing, which were hardest hit by the Myanmar cyclone last month. This aid shipment is part of the $750,000 USD worth of supplies collected for the survivors of cyclone Nargis by UNITED SIKHS and its partners - Malaysian Gurdwaras (Sikh place of worship), Global Sikhs, the Buddhist Maha Vihara and others.
A second sea-shipment of 50 tonnes will be dispatched to Myanmar next week and 50 tonnes of supplies will be handed to the Malaysian Red Crescent for distribution to the China earthquake and Myanmar cyclone survivors.
Encouraged and motivated by the recent break-through in the transportation of aid and critically needed goods and medical supplies to the victims of cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, a new team of 5 volunteers from UNITED SIKHS are making preparations to depart for Myanmar in the coming weeks to help in the distribution of aid supplies.
Earlier, UNITED SIKHS had also sent food and medical supplies via Air Asia, which has been sponsoring air cargo charges and flight tickets for all UNITED SIKHS volunteers from Malaysia headed to Myanmar. The next air-cargo of 1000 kg of food, clothing and medical supplies, will be sent with the team preparing to leave. This shipment brings the total amount of critically needed air cargo sent to 2000 kg.
"We are grateful to those who donated supplies and also those who sponsored the cost of freight charges. We are no longer collecting donations of physical supplies. Monetary donations will go towards the purchase and distribution of supplies and relief services in Myanmar," said Harbinder Singh, Project Director of the UNITED SIKHS Relief Mission in Kuala Lumpur.
On the continuing efforts, he said, "It will take several months before there can be some semblance of normalcy and we must do what we can to help the victims of cyclone Nargis."
The sea shipment of food, medicine and other supplies which have been cleared by customs in Myanmar will be distributed with the help of other NGOs and local monasteries. UNITED SIKHS will be distributing these supplies to three separate areas south of Myanmar. The NGOs and the monks from the monasteries will head to the towns of Labutta and Bogale whilst our Field Coordinator, Sukhveer Singh, will be braving a journey that will take him through inland roads and rivers to ensure that the supplies get to the survivors in Kangyaing.
To-date, 4 volunteers from UNITED SIKHS Malaysia have gone to Myanmar. Sarjit Singh, the third volunteer who returned home to Kuala Lumpur from the mission in Myanmar on Saturday 7th June 2008, updated the team with the current situation and need of the victims. "With the monsoon, the survivors are in desperate need of tents to shelter their already feeble homes".
UNITED SIKHS was among the first few NGOs which made it to Myanmar once the restrictions on foreign aid workers were gradually lifted. Sunil Shukvir Singh, the Malaysian Operations Coordinator of UNITED SIKHS Myanmar Disaster Relief, was among the NGO representatives who attended a briefing by the Myanmar Prime Minister to U.N. Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon at the end of May, followed by a helicopter tour of the devastated areas to assess the immediate needs and relief strategies.
As part of its relief work, UNITED SIKHS volunteers have been tirelessly preparing langgar at the Gurdwara in Yangon (Sikh place of worship) and serving langgar (the Sikh tradition of serving hot meals cooked in a community kitchen) to more than 25,000 cyclone survivors. Additionally, the Gurdwara is also a central point for the distribution of clothes, dry food and other supplies collected by UNITED SIKHS and its partners across the region.
Anyone who wishes to donate to the UNITED SIKHS Myanmar Disaster Relief project globally may do so online at http://www.unitedsikhs.org/donate or by sending a cheque payable to the nearest UNITED SIKHS office; details of which can be obtained at http://unitedsikhs.org/contact.php
Members of the public who wish to obtain more information, please contact us at :
+6 012-215 5966 or +6 012 268 9755