Thursday, October 25, 2007

Giving aid to IDPs--Putting Oneself in Harm's Way


Today, I met with workers from Free Burma Rangers, one of the leading humanitarian organizations providing relief to internally displaced persons inside Burma's armed conflict zones. They smuggle medicines, clothes, cooking utensils, matches, plastic sheeting, and other basic survival equipment to the hundreds of thousands of ethnic peoples displaced by attacks by the Burma Army. They have to travel through the jungles for days to weeks at a time to reach IDPs, all the while avoiding SPDC patrols, landmines, and tropical diseases. They administer medical aid to SPDC attack survivors, malaria and landmine victims, and to those suffering from numerous other illnesses.

The personal risk is great. You can get shot at, blown up by landmines, or stricken by malaria. I heard of 5 of FBR's casualties. One was killed by a landmine. Another was captured, tortured, and then executed. One died from cerebral malaria, and two drowned.

Another IDP medical assistance organization is the Back Pack Health Worker Team. Several of their members have died in the field.

Such brave determination and sacrifice.

You personally can help IDPs by donating to Partners Relief and Development's 5 Alive Program. $50 will keep a family of internally displaced persons alive for one month. Donate HERE. You can download Partners' 5 Alive Brochure HERE. You can also join Partners' listserv off its homepage.