The report below came in today on the daily email of www.cathnews.com which is based in Australia and a very good source of Catholic news. It comes out Monday to Friday.
I posted the other day that the Columbans have donated US$100,000 to Caritas Myanmar to help meet some of the urgent needs of the survivors of the cyclone.
Burma situation 'overwhelming': Caritas 14 May 2008
Describing the situation in Burma as 'overwhelming', Caritas Australia CEO Jack de Groot has appealed to the Catholic community 'for as much help as possible'.
'Unlike many other organisations, we already have access to Burma, because of our contacts and networks on the ground and pre-existing partnerships,' Mr de Groot said according to a Caritas statement.
'We have already distributed food, water and shelter to three of the affected districts. Distribution is continually expanding.
'We have distributed medical supplies to 16,000 people. The number helped will rise soon.
'We are able to channel funds directly into communities through Catholic networks, by-passing blockages imposed by the military,' Mr de Groot said.
'The death toll is now so high, and threatening to rise because of water borne illnesses, that much more aid is needed than is currently pledged.
'We are the second largest aid agency in the world (second only to the Red Cross), and one of the top five Australian aid and development agencies," he added.
'We have leverage because we are working as a team with our international partners. We are a member of the Australian Council For International Development, (ACFID) and a registered charity.'
'Our accountability as Catholics is not to our questions and doubts alone,' he said.
'We must criticise negligence that arises from inaction but at the end our accountability is to the poor and suffering. (Emphasis added).
'That is what we as a country and Church are measured by. Donors need to probe but not resign from action – the people of the Burma do not have this choice at the moment,' Mr de Groot warned.
Burma Cyclone 'overwhelming': 'Please, please, please allow international access' (Caritas Australia, Media Release, 14/5/08.
Burmese dioceses setting up camps for people displaced by cyclone Nargis (AsiaNews, 14/5/08)
Caritas relief efforts to reach 40,000 people in Myanmar (Reliefweb, 14/5/08)