Taiwanese temple plans more relief for Myanmar's cyclone victims

CNA, May 21, 2008

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A second relief team from the Ling Jiou Mountain Monastery - a Buddhist temple located on Taiwan's northeast coast - to visit Myanmar's cyclone disaster areas will focus on helping residents along four major estuaries in the Irrawaddy delta, a temple official said yesterday.

<< Master Tsin Tao

Master Chin Nian, who returned to Taipei May 19 after she and Taiwan's world-famous rescue volunteer group the International Headquarters SAR Taiwan made a 10-day visit to Myanmar, said that some 6 million victims of Cyclone Nargis, which struck May 2, are in desperate need of help.

Chin Nian said she and the rescue team had visited 42 villages to distribute relief supplies, including 20 metric tons of rice and 7,000 loaves of bread, and provided medical treatment to about 160 sick and injured victims each day.

"I saw with my own eyes at least 2 million people in Myanmar rendered homeless by the cyclone," she said.

Chin Nian said the second relief group will focus on providing food and medical relief to residents in 26 townships and villages along the four major estuaries in the Irrawaddy delta.

"We will help with the adoption of some 2,000 orphaned children, the procurement of building materials for reconstruction of housing, and the installation of water purification facilities," she said.

The Ling Jiou Mountain Monastery's relief group was one of two known groups allowed into Myanmar by the country's ruling military junta, the other being a group from the Buddhist Compassionate Tzu Chi Foundation.

The monastery's founder, Myanmar-born Buddhist Master Hsin Tao, entered the country with the relief group May 8. He stayed there for two days to assess the needs of the cyclone victims before returning to Taiwan to organize a second batch of relief supplies.

Meanwhile, the management of Taiwan-based Mandarin Airlines said the carrier's flights to Yangon will continue to transport relief supplies free of charge, including 12,960 ready-to-eat rice meals donated by WIN Semiconductors Corp. that will be delivered in three batches this week.

According to the latest official tally from Myanmar, Cyclone Nargis had caused some 78,000 deaths as of May 19, with more than 56,000 people still missing.

The storm swept directly across the densely populated low-lying Irrawaddy delta, causing a deadly surge that inundated the region and swept large numbers of residents to their deaths.