Seventh-day Adventist Church
Disaster Response Committee
June 3rd. 2008
Today, make one month for the destruction caused by the Nargis Cyclone in Myanmar. The church members in Ayeyarwaddy and Yangon are still suffering from the affects of this dreadful disaster. Though the saying goes, as “Time will heal” it is still too early to say this for the people of Myanmar. The total death roll has exceeded to about 134,000 and it has left thousands in sorrow, despair, loss and no prospects for the future. Nevertheless, GOD has not left HIS people without hope. HE has used many of his devoted stewards to pray and support the church in responding to the needs of HIS children.
On hearing of the disaster in Myanmar, the Adventist Southeast Asia Projects (ASAP) sent her representative to visit the church in Myanmar and donated towards the needs as seen. With the assistance received a relief response group headed by the Union President, Pastor Muller Kyaw visited Myaungmya and were able to meet with the cyclone victims there. On the way, we were able to meet with two families from the church, living at Zee Pwue Kyung and encourage them. These two families had lost their homes and so were very happy to receive donations in cash towards building their homes again.
Later on as the team arrived at Myaungmya, we met with the flood victims and had a chance to listen to their first hand experiences during the cyclone. We had heard how GOD had miraculously saved them and their families during these difficult times. Even though some had lost their loved ones, it was definite that without the “Protecting Hands” of GOD things would have been much worse for them. During our visit to Myaungmya we were able to provide some funds for food at the refugee camps and towards some farmers to plow their fields and start planting rice for this season.
The Report of Second Trip to Delta
By Dr. Htwe Lay. Director
Myanmar Union Mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
In cooperation between Health Ministries Department and a professional group, which consists of three professors and eight master students from the University of Public Health, we started our journey to Delta to help the Nargis victims. On arrival, May 26, the group visited a middle school, used as a refugee camp. Together with a Thai medical team, we provided medical care and health education for the victims there. On the following day, the group went to one camp after another for the same purpose. At the same time, in order to prevent and control the disease outbreak, the team checked the water sources, refuse, and excreta disposal and took appropriate interventions.
On the early morning of May 28 at about 5 AM, the whole group went down to Laputta, which had the biggest shelter camp. The group visited three big camps, the 5 miles camp, the three miles camp, and a large football field that altogether allowed 10,000 restitutes in 1,000 tents. In the afternoon at 1 PM, the group went by a small boat to Gananlay village to access the situation for resettlement and to give medical assistance. There were 51 huts newly constructed for the relocated villagers. The villagers urgently needed rice and financial assistance, and the group donated some cash and discussed with the village leaders for their future survival.
One day just before the Public health group left, the whole group divided into 4 smaller groups in order to implement 4 different objectives. One group went to the Muslim camp to provide medical care and treated over 200 patients. One group went to the state run camp for the orphans and they access the nutritional status of the children in the camp. The two other groups gave an intensive short training to the villagers regarding relevant diseases prevention control, and on basic treatments for common infectious diseases following a natural disaster. Then medicines were distributed to the respective individuals who would take care of the sick people in their respective territories. Some dried food was also donated to the storm victims taking temporary shelter in the seminary compound.
On the Friday morning, the public health professionals went back to Yangon and the mission health team drove to Pathein Mission Headquarters where some storm victims took shelter. There were 63 members, 12 households and the medical team treated the sick persons and did some blood tests to screen for diabetics among the refugees. In one afternoon, the team gave a short medical treatment and diseases prevention training to 15 volunteers who are personally involved in rescue program in different social organizations.
This second trip was a successful trip as the group could contribute both disease prevention, treatment and collect the needed formation for further planning in order to develop a successful comprehensive resettlement program for the Nargis victims. Praise and thank God for the safe and secure trip.
Tomorrow another team made up of the response and resettlement committee, secretary, and members will be going to Bogalay and the surrounding villages to distribute some food, tarpaulin, Bibles, and medical kits to the needy people out there. We plan to spend the Sabbath with those members and share some encouraging thoughts with them.
On our return will be sharing our experiences with all of you. Remember us in your prayers.
Phenna Gone Churh Group
The Phenna Gone church is in the Bogalay area and is one of the villages close to the seaside. We had a chance to talk with Mahn Poe Shine, the church elder and his group. These people were saved from the storm, and arrived safely at the mission compound.
According to Poe Shine there were about one hundred members attending this church at Phenna Gone village. During the cyclone as all the houses were destroyed and as the tidal waves came in, the church members and villagers took shelter at the house-church donated by Mr. G. MeNeilus. At first, the structure stood strong was able to bear the beat of the storm but later it collapsed out-ward instead of falling in and killing all the people inside the building. The people were so amazed of this at they had to admit that the GOD of the Seventh-day Adventist church was a very powerful GOD. In fact, some already want to know about the GOD we worship.
About three members were killed in this storm and all the villages became homeless. At present, the victims are divided into two smaller groups and one is sheltered at the Mission compound while another group is sheltered at the Adventist Seminary.
When asked about their future plan, the church members were desperate and could not think of anything. They have lost their fields and gardens. The village is now just a bare and dusty waste land. They could not think of going back there. They had lost all hopes for the future. Their only alternative was to seek shelter in the neighboring villages at Myaungmya or Pathen, where the mission office is situated. Still, who is going to help them to resettle down and support them financially? These people are looking towards us for our prayers and financial support. How will we respond to their needs?
If In need of further information
Muller Kyaw (Union President)
president (put at mark here) mail4u.com.mm
Gavin Johns (Director, Philanthropic)
gavin (put at mark here) mail4u.com.mm