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This Press Release may be read online at: http://www.unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-19-05-2008-00.htm
Press Release: 19th May 2008, Sunday 5th Jeth (Samvat 540 Nanakshahi )
UNITED SIKHS Serves Langgar (Hot Meals) to Myanmar Cyclone Survivors
“We ask individual donors and organizations to sponsor the langgar (hot meal) which costs about $550 US dollars for 1000 persons. Donors may specify the day for which they wish to sponsor the hot meal for 1000 survivors,” said Gurnam Singh, UNITED SIKHS disaster relief coordinator.
New York, USA – UNITED SIKHS along with the Yangon Sikh Gurdwara (Sikh place of worship) has started serving langgar (the Sikh tradition of serving hot meals cooked in a community kitchen) to thousands of Myanmar cyclone survivors, since last Friday. Despite all odds, UNITED SIKHS volunteers, with the help of the local authority, have reached out to the destitute and homeless with hot food and water. Today 3000 survivors in remote villages received hot food consisting of rice noodles.
More than 13 Sikhs have been cooking the langgar (hot meals) at the Yangon Sikh Gurdwara, located on Theinbyu Street. Last Friday, UNITED SIKHS volunteers made packets of the cooked food and transported it to Kun Chan Gon, 40 km from the Gurdwara. 25 volunteers formed two groups to deliver food to 1000 survivors at Buddhist Viharas (Buddhist temples) in both the Dalat and Kyaut Tan areas. The following day, Sikh Aid volunteers grappled with crippling infrastructure to distribute the hot meals to over 1200 survivors in other affected areas.
Preparation for hot meals at the Sikh Gurdwara Yangon
Sikh Aid volunteers packing hot meals
Distribution of hot meals:
Distribution of Other Supplies:
“Thank you for the food and feeding us”, an old woman said to our volunteers, in her native language.
A visit to the relief camps by the UNITED SIKHS team revealed the urgent need for basic necessities including clothes. Kids were barefoot and without clothes. In one situation, there were only 3 toilets for 1000 people. Our team will purchase more t-shirts and slippers for the survivors.
“On the first day, we were able to reach out to 1000 survivors and on the second day we distributed langgar to another 1200 and today to 3000 survivors. There is a need for daily distribution of hot food and supplies to the survivors,” said Jagjit Singh, a UNITED SIKHS volunteer in Yangon.
“We need to send food and other supplies to devastated areas for as long as possible. We appeal to everyone to donate so that we may be able to serve hot meals everyday,” said Gurnam Singh, UNITED SIKHS disaster relief coordinator, who is closely liaising with the volunteers in Myanmar.
“We ask individual donors and organizations to sponsor the langgar (hot meal) which costs about $550 US dollars for 1000 persons per meal. Donors may specify the day for which they wish to sponsor the hot meal for 1000 survivors. We will acknowledge the donors’ langgar sponsorship in our reports,” he added.
Donations may be made online at www.unitedsikhs.org/donate or via checks/demand draft payable to UNITED SIKHS. You may obtain details of a UNITED SIKHS office nearest to you at http://unitedsikhs.org/contact.php
“It’s not how many have died. It’s how many will die if we do nothing,” said Harbinder Singh, project coordinator of the UNITED SIKHS Myanmar Disaster Relief team based in Malaysia.
The UNITED SIKHS-Malaysia team has started collecting food and medicine supplies to fill a shipping vessel capable of carrying 300-500 tonnes that will leave Port Klang in Malaysia for Myanmar.
“However, whilst waiting for the supplies to fill the ship and due to the dire and immediate need for rice and water, we will be sending to Myanmar a few 20-foot containers of rice and water, separately on Monday, 26th May,” Mr Harbinder Singh said.
“An appeal has been launched for every Malaysian family to donate one 10-kilo bag of rice and the public’s response has been very moving. Donor families are not only donating one bag but 10 bags of rice, at a time,” he added.
“However, we want the public to know that the need is still far over stripping our supply,” he said.
The Official count of casualties is 38,000 and 27,000 people remain missing. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates, as of May 13, that between 63,000 to 101,000 people have died, while some 220,000 remain missing, and between 1.6 to 2.5 million have been severely affected.
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