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Why no press coverage of the Giri Cyclone?

On October 22 a category 4 cyclone made landfall in the Arakan region of Myanmar [Burma]. With winds up to 120 mph, it destroyed 70 villages, 15,000 houses, 318 schools and 17,500 acres of agricultural lands in Myebon, Pauktaw, Kyaukpyu, and Minbya townships. Forty-five people are reported dead and approximately 200,000 have been affected.

The military junta had been preparing for carefully orchestrated “elections” at the time so they instituted a media black-out. Therefore there has been little international coverage of the impact of the cyclone.

A local aid organization that has teams on the ground is Link Emergency Aid and Development (LEAD). LEAD was established shortly after the devastating Nargis cyclone in May, 2008 that caused so much damage in the Irrawaddy delta region. LEAD is run entirely by Burmese people and is not affiliated with any government organization. Their first team reached the affected area on October 27th and within two days rice was distributed to the survivors in the worst-hit areas. As of November 1st, LEAD had distributed 7,350 kg of rice to 5,768 survivors. So far, they are reported to be the only non-governmental organization on the ground in the region. Since the 2008 cyclone LEAD has built 139 low-cost housing, 3 primary schools and provided various types of livelihood assistance such as boats, sewing machines, seeds, and handtillers to over 1,000 families. More information on their efforts can be found at their website: http://www.lead-ngo.org/

A company that has been channeling contributions from donors in the U.S. and Europe is Pandaw. This is a cruise line that runs a series of river boats on the Irrawaddy River during the dry season. After the 2008 cyclone they converted one of their ships into a floating hospital and they delivered medical care throughout the region.

Courtesy of Pandaw Cruises.

Anyone interested in sending donations to support the efforts of LEAD can channel their contributions through: http://www.pandawcharity.com/Pandaw_Charity/Donate.html