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Mandalay abbots reach Rangoon with relief supplies

by Naw Say Paw, Democratic Voice of Burma, May 14, 2008

Mandalay, Myanmar -- Four abbots from Maha Gandaryon monastery in Mandalay arrived in Rangoon today with two vanloads of aid to help victims living in cyclone-devastated Rangoon and Irrawaddy divisions.

More monks from Bago and Magwe are due to arrive this evening and tomorrow morning, according to famous comedian Zaganar.

He said that monks had planned to go on the ground to join relief efforts in person and cooperate with celebrities from Burmese film industry who have been working effectively to provide aid to people in the worst-hit areas.

DVB interviewed Zaganar about the monks’ plan in detail.

Zaganar: Senior abbots from Mandalay’s Maha Gandaryon monastery came to Rangoon today. They brought along two vans loaded mostly with rice, onions, beans, salt and some clothing to provide to cyclone victims in Rangoon and Irrawaddy Divisions.

They also brought some cash with them to give to needy people. They plan to go on the ground to meet people in persons and offer Buddhist teaching.

Tomorrow, they want to go to Pantanaw and Latputta in the Irrawaddy delta and to some monasteries in East Dagon where victims are currently taking shelter, to donate food and other supplies. They also want to visit areas located next to the sea but I am not sure if I can rent a boat to take them there.

DVB: Are they all senior abbots?

Zaganar: Yes, I would say they are. Two abbots are 52 years old and the other two are 38 and 32. Some abbots from Hlaing Tharyar have also joined them so they should be able to organize their relief efforts.

DVB: Are there more monks coming to join in with relief work?

Zaganar: Yes, there will be more monks coming. We were just told on the phone that abbots from Bago would be coming. Also, abbots from Minbu and Magwe told us on the phone that they would be driving to Rangoon this evening with aid for cyclone victims.

DVB: Where did you provide aid today?

Zaganar: Two groups have gone to Daydaye and Kongyankone in Irrawaddy delta today and they have already arrived there. They have distributed aid to villagers living in nine villages in Kongyankone and someone just told me on the phone that they were building tanks for villagers.

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Myanmar Cyclone Disaster Fast Facts

Toll as at May 9, 2008

Dead (official)
Missing (official) 41,054
Dead (US estimate) 100,000 plus
Homeless (UN estimate) 1 million- plus

International contributors

$10 million
$3 million
UNITED STATES $3 million
AUSTRALIA $2.8 million
$2 million in aid.
CANADA $2 million
INDONESIA $1 million
SPAIN $775,000
GERMANY $775,000
CHINA $500,000
FRANCE $320,000
GREECE $300,000
JAPAN $267,570
THAILAND $100,000
$2.1 million
SRI LANKA $25,000

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