[Episcopal News Service] The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, has written to the Anglican Church in Burma following the devastation of Cyclone Nargis in the area of the Irrawaddy River Delta.
In the letter to Archbishop of Myanmar and Bishop of Yangon Stephen Than Myint Oo, Williams assures the church of the prayers of the Anglican Communion and commends the rescue operation now underway.
"I am heartened to know relief efforts are underway to help hundreds of thousands of people who are without clean water, food, or shelter," said Williams. "Our hearts grieve with all those who have lost their loved ones, their homes and their livelihoods. In the face of such loss, all I can offer in my prayers for you is the totality of the love of God, even in the face of all that on earth is disfigured by natural disaster. 'This is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.' (John 6.39). Please be assured that your brothers and sisters across the Communion are holding you in their prayers."
The Anglican Church in Burma is known as the Church of the Province of Myanmar.
Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) is providing emergency assistance to communities in Burma affected by Cyclone Nargis. The storm, packing winds up to 120 miles per hour, swept through the country on Saturday, May 3, leaving at least 22,000 dead and a further 41,000 unaccounted.
Working with its partner, the Church of the Province of Myanmar, ERD is sending funds to secure shelter, food water and other relief needs for people displaced by the Cyclone. As part of a long-term strategy, ERD has been working for the past two years with five dioceses on economic development including agriculture, livestock, and micro-loans, clean water and education programs.
"Episcopal Relief and Development's response to the cyclone will involve a long-term recovery and rehabilitation strategy for affected areas in which the church has a presence," says Kirsten Laursen Muth, senior program director for Asia and New Initiatives. "Our prayers are with the people of Burma at this very difficult time."
To help people affected by the cyclone in Burma, make a donation to ERD's "Emergency Relief Fund" online here, or by calling 1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129. Gifts can be mailed to: Episcopal Relief and Development "Emergency Relief Fund" P.O. Box 7058, Merrifield, VA 22116-7058.
The AP reports the United States envoy in Myanmar estimates 100,000 dead and 1,000,000 homeless. The French foreign minister urges the UN invoke 'the United Nations should invoke its "responsibility to protect" civilians as the basis for a resolution to force delivery of aid to Myanmar, even if over the objections of the military government there.'