Southern Baptists are moving to respond in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, which struck Myanmar, a country in Southeast Asia also known as Burma, early May 3 with winds of up to 120 mph.
The storm knocked out electricity in Yangon, the country’s largest city, and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless, according to the Associated Press. The death toll was estimated at 4,000, with another 3,000 missing, but the country’s foreign minister warned the toll could reach more than 10,000 in low-lying areas, where the storm’s impact was most intense.
Baptist Global Response and its local partners in Myanmar are trying to get an on-ground assessment of the situation, but the massive disruption of communications and travel ports is making that difficult, said Jeff Palmer, executive director of Baptist Global Response. Stringent rules placed upon foreigners by the military government also complicate matters.
“At this time, BGR is doing all it can to assess and respond to this urgent need,” Palmer said. “We have made initial contact with some on-ground partners and have readied funds to be used for food, shelter and other emergency needs.
“It looks, however, as if it will be a few days before we can get government permission and resources in place to respond in an adequate manner,” Palmer added. “This seems to be a pattern that all relief and development agencies are experiencing at this point.”
“Please pray for the people of Myanmar and those who are suffering. Pray also that we will find ways to get to the people in need in a timely manner.”