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Responding to Tragedy: Liberty and Leadership Participants Aid Flood Victims in Burma

August 12, 2015 3 minute Read by Elizabeth Hoffman

In the United States, August is synonymous with back-to-school preparations and the end of Summer.   Soon the leaves will begin to turn and we will open the door in the morning to the cool and crisp embrace of Fall.

In Burma, there are only three seasons--hot, dry and monsoon.  Burma is currently in the midst of one of the worst monsoon seasons in decades.  Since late July, the country has been plagued by heavy rains and flooding that was exacerbated when tropical Cyclone Komen hit western Burma.  An estimated 1 million people have been affected in all but two of Burma’s fourteen states.  The Burmese government says that up to 100 people have died and millions of acres of rice fields have been destroyed.

Amidst the devastation, members of the Bush Institute’s Liberty and Leadership Forum classes from Burma have led efforts to provide aid to those in need.  

Htar Htar Thet, founder of the Crown School, joined the Flood Response Coordinating Team to raise money to buy and distribute food, clothes, clean water and medicine in small villages in the Magway region.  Htar Htar and her team were able to reach an estimated 2,500 flood victims.  

Working with Charity Oriented Myanmar, Kyi Min Han has led efforts to collect money and distribute aide to victims across the country in the Kalaymyo, Magway and Rakhine regions.

Through the #MyFriend movement that she founded, Wai Wai Nu, mobilized volunteers to assist victims in Letpadan township.  In keeping with their mission, the #MyFriend campaign volunteers distributed aid to affected people regardless of ethnicity, race or religion.  

Htoot May is leading efforts in her native Arakan State to raise money and distribute aid to victims.  Arakan State sustained some of the worst damages from the cyclone, and was declared a “natural disaster zone” by the Burmese government.  Htoot May also plans to run for political office in the upcoming November elections in order to further serve her community. 

In addition to being a co-founder of the Knowledge Propagation Society, Tayzar San is a medical doctor.  He used his training to provide emergency medical assistance to flood victims in small villages.

The Bush Institute applauds the ongoing work of these Young Leaders as they continue to work for to provide much needed relief to those who have suffered due to the devastating flooding in Burma.