The Prem Rawat Foundation Donates US$100,000 for Disaster Relief in Myanmar
Los Angeles, May 2008 — The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF) has donated US$100,000 to bring immediate aid to the hundreds of thousands of survivors who have been stranded without food, shelter or potable water after Cyclone Nargis hit the country on May 2. Through Friends of the World Food Program, TPRF’s donation will help the UN World Food Program (WFP) provide aid directly to those most affected by the disaster.
“WFP was one of the first humanitarian agencies to be allowed to deliver aid directly to the people rather than through the government of Myanmar,” notes TPRF President Linda Pascotto. “Our years-long partnership with Friends of the World Food Program to distribute aid directly has meant that our donors have been assured that their funds have had a great impact on those most in need. We are again grateful for this partnership, as we are able to assure our donors that their donations are getting directly to the victims of Cyclone Nargis.”
In the three weeks since the cyclone hit, WFP has dispatched a two-week ration of rice for 340,000 people in eight townships in and around Yangon and seven in the Ayeyarwady delta. They have also provided high-energy biscuits for over 107,000 children.
Even so, there are communities that have not yet been reached by any outside agencies. Much of the area is reachable only by boat, which makes the delivery of assistance even more challenging. The Myanmar authorities have now given WFP permission to bring in 10 helicopters, the first of which will arrive from Malaysia on May 22nd. In addition, WFP has now contracted four barges and two tug boats capable of moving large amounts of food and other humanitarian aid. All of this will help to improve the delivery of much-needed aid to these people.
In all, WFP is currently planning to provide lifesaving food assistance for 630,000 people for six months, until the next harvest in October/November. Long-term assistance is needed because the storm has devastated the crops in Ayeyarwady, the country’s largest rice-producing district.
“Time is of the essence,” says WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran. “We are mobilizing all possible resources to save lives, given the massive disruption in food, water and shelter caused by the storm.”
The damage is widespread and is expected to have long-lasting effects. With an official disaster area that includes 24 million people, which is over half the population of Myanmar (Burma), it is estimated that 1.5 million are in urgent need of assistance. Flooding and seriously damaged infrastructure and communication systems add to the challenge of the rescue effort.
Photo credits WFP/Hakan Tongul
Photo credits WFP/Anabelle Wang
The Prem Rawat Foundation was created in 2001 by Prem Rawat, known also as Maharaji, and has a dual mission of bringing his message of peace to people around the world and providing essential humanitarian aid to those in need. TPRF partners with other humanitarian organizations to bring food, water and rapid disaster relief where it is most needed.