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MYANMAR AND SICHUAN DISASTER

 
Click here to view pictures of aid in the gallery......
 
UPFBH EMERGENCY AID
 

Two devastating calamities hit the Asian Continent within a gap of ten days from each other leaving scores of humans dead, thousands injured and millions displaced and homeless leading to unimaginable losses and damages...the magnitude of the catastrophes going beyond human imagination.

Saturday, May 2nd 2008, Myanmar was struck by Cyclone Nargis......making Cyclone Nargis one of the Top Ten storm disasters of all time in recorded human history and the deadliest named cyclone in the North Indian Ocean Basin. Following this calamity, within a gap of ten days from each other, Monday, May 12th 2008, Sichaun Province of China was struck by a 8.0 magnitude earthquake at 14:28:01.42 CST...making the Sichuan Earthquake the deadliest and strongest earthquake to hit China since the 1976 Tangshan earthquake.

People and communities have been severely affected and it will take a long time until the needs are met. However, the globe has once again come together to help those innocent victims struck by the natural disasters...There only hope is our continual support as the months pass and the only way to help is to give generously, with their gratitude as your biggest reward...

UPFBH has contributed to help the millions of displaced people in Myanmar and Sichuan... by providing Food, Clothing and Shelter...

1. Emergency Nutritional Energy Packs consisting of the following : Rice, Beans, Vegetable Oil, Iodised Salt and Sugar for 1 Person
2. Emergency Relief Tents with Sleeping Mats and Blankets providing Basic Shelter
3. Water and Water Purification Tablets.

 
Please click HERE to make your Donation as every generous drop of help can make a difference in the life of a Human
 
 
BACKGROUND - THE MYANMAR CYCLONE – MAY 2nd 2008
 

A strong tropical cyclone caused the deadliest natural disaster in the recorded history of Burma (officially known as Myanmar) on May 2, 2008, causing catastrophic destruction. The cyclone Nargis developed on April 27 in the central area of Bay of Bengal. Initially it tracked slowly northwestward encountering favorable conditions, but it quickly strengthened and rapidly intensified to attain peak winds. Cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar on 2 May 2008, raging through an area that is home to nearly half of the country's 53 million people with about 5,000 sq km (1,930 sq miles) of land still under water. The cyclone made its landfall in the Ayeyarwady Division directly hitting the country’s largest city, Yangon. The Cyclone slammed into coastal towns and villages in the rice-growing delta whereby 40 townships in Yangon Division and 7 townships in Ayeyarwady Division remain on the Government’s list of disaster areas. Most of the casualties were killed by the 12-foot (3.5 metre) wall of water that hit the delta, with the cyclone's 190 kph (120 mph).

Some 2.4 million people are thought to be severely affected (in the sense of loss of livelihoods, shelter, or similarly severe loss) – equivalent to more than a third of the population of 7.3 million in the affected Townships – with up to 800,000 people displaced from their homes. Estimates of the people still missing or dead are140,000 (more precisely 84,537 killed, 53,836 still unaccounted for); and nearly 20,000 have been injured. Further, with the long-term damage to Myanmar's "rice bowl,", which normally accounts for about 65 percent of Myanmar rice output, the country's long-term ability to feed itself could also be jeopardised.

The damage is estimated at over $10 billion (USD), which made it the most damaging cyclone ever recorded in this basin. It was also Burma's worst natural disaster overall, as well as being the deadliest.

However, despite the overwhelming suffering caused by Cyclone Nargis, relief efforts were slowed for political reasons as Burma's military rulers initially resisted aid. The impounding of airplanes full of food; the refusal to grant visas to relief workers and landing rights to foreign aircraft; the initial refusal to allow U.S. military (or indeed any foreign military) to supply the ships, planes, and helicopters needed for the mass distribution of food and supplies that Burma needs and even Burmese citizens prevented from bringing food to the flood-damaged regions, on the grounds that "all assistance must be channeled through the military has led the world to condemn the way Burma's military rulers handled the aftermath of a devastating cyclone.

Burma's ruling party finally accepted aid a few days later from the U.S after India's request was accepted. However, further hampering the relief effort was the unfortunate fact that only ten days after the cyclone nearby central China was hit by a massive earthquake, known as the Sichuan earthquake which measured 7.9 in magnitude and itself is projected to have taken scores of lives to livelihoods. The result: A natural disaster turning into a humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions in significant part because of the malign neglect of the Burmese Military Regime.

Food, water purification supplies and receptacles, sanitation facilities for temporary camps, shelter materials, plastic sheeting fuel, cooking sets, mosquito nets, emergency health kits and essential medicines and treatment are all critical needs. Some 733,000 people have received food aid during the nearly five months since the disaster, and outbreaks of water-borne diseases have been successfully prevented in the cyclone-affected areas. However, Clean water is among the concerns for the months ahead, due to damage to rainwater collection systems and saltwater contamination of ponds, as well as low rainfall.

The United Nations has launched a flash appeal for $482 million to support the survivors of which $178 million has already been committed in response to the original flash appeal, leaving an unmet requirement of $303.6 million.

 

 
BACKGROUND - THE SICHUAN EARTHQUAKE – MAY 12th 2008
 

On May 12, 2008, a 8.0 magnitude earthquake according to the State Seismological Bureau of China and 7.9 Mw according to the United States Geological Survey struck the Sichuan province of China at 14:28:01.42 CST. It is also known as the Wenchuan earthquake after the earthquake's epicenter in Wenchuan County in Sichuan province. The epicenter was 80 kilometres (50 mi) west-northwest of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, with a depth of 19 kilometres (12 mi). The earthquake was felt as far away as Beijing (1,500 km away) and Shanghai (1,700 km away), where office buildings swayed with the tremor. The earthquake was also felt in nearby countries such as Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, Mongolia, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan and Russia.

Between 64 and 104 major aftershocks, ranging in magnitude from 4.0 to 6.1, were recorded within 72 hours of the main quake. The shallowness of the epicenter and the density of population greatly increased the severity of the earthquake. Also the seismic waves of the quake traveled a long distance without losing their power because of the firmness of the terrain in central China. According to reports from Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, the earthquake tremors lasted for "about two or three minutes". China frequently suffers large and deadly earthquakes but one of this size has the potential to cause extensive damage and loss of life. .

Official figures ( as of July 6, 2008 12:00 CST) state that 69,197 are confirmed dead and 3374,176 injured with 18,340 listed as missing. The earthquake left as high as 11 million people homeless. It is the deadliest and strongest earthquake to hit China since the 1976 Tangshan earthquake, which killed at least 240,000 people. According to Chinese official counts, by 12:00 CST, October 7, there had been 32,728 total aftershocks, of which 255 ranged from 4.0 Ms to 4.9 Ms, 32 from 5.0 Ms to 5.9 Ms, and 8 from 6.0 Ms to 6.9 Ms; the strongest aftershock measured 6.4 Ms.The latest aftershock exceeding M6 occurred on August 5, 2008.

The Chengdu airport was shut down, All of the highways into Wenchuan, and others throughout Sichuan province, were damaged. In Beichuan county, 80% of the buildings collapsed. In the city of Shifang, 2 Chemical plants collapsed and In the city of Dujiangyan, School buildings collapsed burying innumerable people and students. The Zipingpu Hydropower Plant located 20 km east of the epicenter has been destroyed. Power disruptions, Severe telecommunication traffic congestions, Wireless communications lost and dams were reportedly damaged by the quake. As of 18 May 2008, 21 lakes had formed in the Sichuan basin due to earthquake debris blocking and damming rivers. Entire villages had to be evacuated because of the resultant flooding. Both the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the Shenzhen Stock Exchange suspended trading of companies based in southwestern China. Copper rose over speculations that production in southwestern China may be affected, and oil prices dropped over speculations that demand from China will fall.

Catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide reported official estimates of insurers' losses at US$1 billion from the earthquake; estimated total damages exceed US$20 billion. It values Chengdu, Sichuan Province’s capital city of 4.5 million people, at around US$115 billion, with only a small portion covered by insurance.

Experts point out that the earthquake has hit an area that has been largely neglected and untouched by China's economic rise. Health care is poor in inland areas like Sichuan province, where the magnitude-7.9 quake struck, highlighting the widening gap between prosperous urban dwellers and struggling rural people.

The massive damage of properties and houses in the earthquake area was because China did not get an adequate seismic design code until following the big Tangshan earthquake in 1976. Many of these buildings presumably were quite old and probably were not built with any regulations overseeing them. China also lacks an earthquake early-warning system, although such systems are still very much works-in-progress and they are in the research stages in majority of nations.

The National Disaster Relief Commission initiated a "Level II emergency contingency plan", which covers the most serious class of natural disasters. The plan rose to Level I at 22:15 CST, May 12.[75]. By May 15, China's a total number of aircraft deployed in relief operations by the air force, army, and civil aviation rose to over 150, resulting in China's largest ever non-combat airlifting operation.

China reacted to the disaster "rapidly and with uncharacteristic openness", which contrasted Myanmar's secretive response to Cyclone Nargis, which devastated the country 10 days before the earthquake. China's President Hu Jintao announced that the disaster response would be rapid and just 90 minutes after the earthquake, Premier Wen Jiabao, who has an academic background in geomechanics, flew to the earthquake area to oversee the rescue work.

Emergency medical teams, Rescue teams from the Fire Department, Emergency Relief Teams to armed troops and armed police were dispatched to help with disaster relief work. However, due to the rough terrain, close proximity of the quake's epicenter, the soldiers found it very difficult to get help to the rural regions of the province. The recue workers also found work hampered due to the destruction of the infrastructure clubbed with land slides and those workers and solders who managed to reach the people often found shortage of temporary shelter, drinking water, electricity power and medicines.

China stated it would gratefully accept international help to cope with the quake. Rescue groups from Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Russia and Taiwan arrived to join the rescue effort. The United States shared some of its satellite images of the quake-stricken areas with Chinese authorities.

The State Council declared a three-day period of national mourning for the quake victims starting from May 19th, 2008; the Chinese National Flag and Regional Flags of Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR were raised at half mast. It is the first time that a national mourning period had been declared for something other than the death of a state leader, and many call it the biggest display of mourning since the death of Mao.

The Red Cross Society of China also stated that the disaster areas need tents, medical supplies, drinking water and food; it has also recommended donating cash instead of other items, as it has not been possible to reach roads that were completely damaged or places that were blocked off by landslides.

Following the earthquake, donations were made by people from all over. By May 16, the Chinese government had allocated a total of $772 million for earthquake. On May 16 China stated it had also received $457 million in donated money and goods for rescue efforts so far, including $83 million from 19 countries and four international organizations.

 
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