Burma disaster aid appeal

Update: my email is j dot quiggin at uq dot edu dot au

I’m reposting this announcement from Club Troppo of a joint fundraiser to help cyclone relief in Burma/Myanmar. As regards logistics, I suggest readers here donate to a charity of their choice, and send me an email copy of the receipt for record-keeping purposes. Since the idea is to turn the spirit of competitive emulation to the general good, please feel free to announce your donation in the comments thread for this poist

<h3>Joint Myanmar appeal</h3>

With tens of thousands dead (possibly a hundred thousand) and hundreds of thousands of homes destroyed, the disaster in Myanmar is approaching the scale of the December 2004 tsunami. The difference is that it’s confined to one extremely poor country with particularly poor infrastructure. [Update: Ken Parish would rather call the country Burma, and recommends this discussion of the name issue.]

Aid agencies are working frantically to supply food, water, medication, tarpaulins and so on, to a million or so survivors of Cyclone Nargis who remain in desperate straits. Their initial efforts have been hampered by the paranoid Myanmar government and bureaucracy (see Ken’s post below) as much as by the blocked roads and unusable airports, but it seems progress is being made.

Some blogosphere veterans might remember that John Quiggin raised nearly $5000 in donations for aid organisations involved in the tsunami relief effort three years ago. John undertook to match every dollar pledged by a reader with a dollar of his own.

He is doing the same thing again, this time in collaboration with Club Troppo. We are hoping to persuade readers to give generously in the knowledge that every dollar of disposable income sacrificed translates to nearly four dollars of aid. John will donate fifty cents for every dollar pledged in the comments threads for this post, the comments thread for the twin post at his own site, or by email to John or me. Club Troppo contributors will put in another fifty cents.

The deadline for pledges is midnight Thursday 15 May, and we’ll announce the total collected this time next week. If you donate electronically, forward John or me the acknowledgment in due course, although it doesn’t have to be by the deadline. (The acknowledgments don’t usually specify the amount, but we’ll take your word on that.) Unless you ask to remain anonymous, we’ll list the contributors.

Donate to which ever reputable aid organisation you prefer. Some obvious candidates, who are operating in Myanmar now and also accept on-line donations, are Red Cross, CARE, World Vision, and Medecins Sans Frontieres. Oxfam is collecting funds, though they do not appear to be conducting their own operations in Myanmar. Readers are encouraged to add to this list of suggestions.

James’ email is j DOT farrell AT uws DOT edu DOT au.

Update 12/5/08 Readers have made generous donations. I’ll try to co-ordinate with Troppo for a progress report soon.

28 thoughts on “Burma disaster aid appeal

  1. $90 to World Vision – transaction reference number W0086666 – sorry I don’t know how to paste in a screen shot of the confirmation page.

  2. Oops. I thought that would be moderated and not appear. Any chance I can be retrospectively anonymous? –Done, JQ

  3. I’ve donated through Avaaz https://secure.avaaz.org/en/burma_cyclone/15.php

    “Avaaz is raising funds for the International Burmese Monks Organization and related groups, which will transmit funds directly to monasteries in affected areas.

    In many of the worst-hit areas, the monasteries are the only source of shelter and food for Burma’s poorest people. They have been on the front lines of the aid effort since the storm struck. Other forms of aid could be delayed, diverted or manipulated by the Burmese government–but the monks are the most trusted and reliable institution in the country”.

    They’ve raised over $1m so far.

  4. Great idea JQ. I’m waiting on a receipt from CARE Australia which I’ll email to you once I get it.
    It’s a core promise of $200.

  5. $100 donation to Burma Appeal via:


    “TEAR Australia, in partnership with World Concern Burma and Hope International, is providing immediate relief, as well as planning medium-term recovery and follow-up reconstruction work in Burma.”

    Your reference number is GD0805101168329

    please let me know if u need further information. and thanks for the great idea!!


  6. Many thanks for taking this initiative. $50 to World Vision, ref number W0087208.

  7. $100 through avaaz, as in frankis’ post above.

    Through the back door via the monks.

    No receipt number, but can forward the acknowledgement by email if I can find your email address.

    Great admiration for what you’re doing.


  8. We’ve donated $100 to Red Cross – can’t find Quigger’s email address either.

    Quiggers – are you leading Club Troppo yet?

    Otherwise, we’ll just send the confirmation email to them.

    Come on team!

  9. I’d already sent $350 to MSF (email receipt to be sent to you in a few minutes) before I saw this. Does that count? If so, since I’m a regular her and occasional at Club Troppo feel free to count this on your side of any friendly rivalry.

  10. $50 to CARE

    Your reference number is: 38248

    Great work all!

    As an aside – I’ve heard that “Mynammar” and “Burma” are essentially just different romanisations of the same Burmese (?) word. Any linguists- experts out there concur?


  11. Jack Strocchi & Claire Rodda donated their $50.00 mite to Medecins sans Frontiers. No receipt number was advised but below is a paste of the email confirmation, for what it is worth.

    donations@msf.org.au to me
    show details 12:53 AM (17 hours ago) Reply
    dateMon, May 12, 2008 at 12:53 AM

    Perhaps Pr Q would care to lay on the hair shirt by putting up a post on the relative efficiency of private v public charity?

  12. They say WalMart was critical in the relief effort to NO after Katrina, FedEx was called in to figure out the mess of T5 – is there no end to the usefulness of the private sector?

  13. Indeed, if the private sector ran the Katrina relief effort, I think that’s about all we need to know:-)

    As regards T5 surely we should also credit BAA Airports for giving FedEx the chance to show off its skills. Indeed, there is no end …

  14. I thought you were above snarky comments JQ?

    A fair point – I should set a better example. JQ

  15. $100 donated via AVAAZ.

    “Thanks for supporting the Burmese people
    Transaction ID: 2NC975427C606710N
    Amount: AUD 100.00

    Thank you for donating to support the people of Burma.

    Your donation will be used by the International Burmese Monks Organization to provide emergency relief to those in desperate need. Please forward the original email you received to friends and family, or use the form below to spread the world and help the campaign grow.”

  16. There is one public sector organization that is well-equipped to deliver disaster relief – the ADF.

    I predict that the future of the main-force ADF will be as a glorified militarised NGO sorting out failing states in our region. Not a very venturesome prediction as the Sappers* are already doing so in the Solomons and in Remote Indigenous Communities. Not to mention Iraq and Afghanistan.

    This kind of emergency relief activity is only going to get more urgent and demanding in view of the likelihood of sociological and metereological turbulence to our Near North.

    Especially as civil NGOs seem to have a hard time convincing the govt on the scene to do the right thing, not to mention fending off desperate mobs and bandits, kidnappers etc.

    Possibly the Sappers could be hired out to private enterprise charitable foundations. I doubt that you could find a better general than Bill Gates.


    We blast out the rock an’ we shovel the mud,

    We make ’em good roads an’ — they roll down the khud,

    We make ’em their bridges, their wells, an’ their huts,

    An’ the telegraph-wire the enemy cuts,

  17. jquiggin Says: May 12th, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    Indeed, if the private sector ran the Katrina relief effort, I think that’s about all we need to know:-)

    If you think that Wal Mart is responsible for problems associated with Katrina disaster relief is “all we need to know” about the relative economies of private and public disaster relief then I dont hold out much hope for the future of socialism. FEMA – a quintessential statist QANGO – ran the Katrina relief effort. And its problems stemmed from an ideological and cronyistic executive branch. Not exactly an advertisement for socialist aid efforts.

    But then these days socialist political agencies such as North Korea and Burma seem to be more adept at exacerbating national disasters rather than ameliorating them.

    And the UN – the premier global socialist relief agency – does not exactly inspire confidence in the matter of providing aid. It appears to have blown about 20% of Tsunami aid on waste and corruption. The SMH reports:

    TSUNAMI reconstruction funds worth $US500 million are being lost to fraud and corruption because of the failure by the United Nations to implement its own anti-fraud measures.

    This claim is made by the UN’s former deputy director of investigations, Frank Montil, a former ASIO officer who for a decade was the deputy director of the UN’s internal watchdog unit, set up to investigate fraud and corruption within the UN and its agencies.

    In an exclusive interview with the Herald, Mr Montil said “the oil-for-food scandal taught them nothing”. The fraud and corruption which had been occurring during the tsunami reconstruction period would come back to haunt the UN, which had wilfully ignored all the warning signs.

    His disillusionment with the UN is palpable. “The culture” he says, is one in which “the hypocrite, the liar, the fraudster, the nepotist and the dilettante is more likely to survive and progress than the average ‘thinking’ reasonable man or woman”.

    Within the monolithic organisation, which employs 70,000 people, personal fiefdoms are fiercely guarded and petty political power plays triumph over the ideals of the UN’s charter, he claims. “Whilst those who dreamt it and caused it to be created may have done so with good intentions, [the result] is akin to Alice through the Looking Glass.

    So how can we make statist aid agencies more accountable?

    Unrelated monomania deleted. Jack, anything further from you on Howard will be deleted unless it responds, at proportionate length to the content of a post

  18. From what I have read the Burmese govt are refusing all aid (except cash) excepting from a few sources eg MSF and “tents for peace”

    The UN, whilst expressing “disappointment and frustration” with the govt wants to work with the govt

    The US, France and Italy are considering airdrops of goods against the wishes of the Burmese govt.

    The World Socialist Web say that the US and its allies is running a propaganda war against Burma as a prelude to military invasion.

    A mess

  19. #23 Jack, you’re channelling Louis Hissink here – not something I’d choose to do. I suggest you read Andrew Reynolds’ reply in the same thread.

  20. The cyclone hit the Irrawaddy delta which is the main Myanmarese rice-producing area.

    (Myanmar used to be the largest rice exporter in the world. During the socialist period, production declined to the point where they had to import rice. since the military took over there’s been some slight recovery so that Myanmar is once again an exporter but on a much-reduced scale.)

    The Junta is now – after a criminally long delay – grudgingly allowing immediate humanitarian aid.

    However, longer term aid is likely to be necessary to replant the destroyed rice crop and keep people alive until the new crop matures.

    Western governments are going to have to continue pressure on the junta to allow aid (and to refrain from stealing most of it) for many months.

    The possible consequences of not doing so could be famine not just in the delta region but right across Myanmar.

  21. I heard from Rev John Mallison at Mowll Village, Castle Hill, a retired but active minister asking me to sign a petition for Aung San Suu’s release, but cannot trace the Petiton on that very long Internet address that John Mallison sent on his circular letter seeking support. When I did track it down, it mentioned a difficulty and to try again in a few hours. Can you send me the Petition facility direct to me at my Email, for my wife and myself to add our name. Thank you SO much! – Perry Smith in Newcastle, NSW.

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