Overseas Burmese raise funds for cyclone victims

May 26, 2008 (DVB)-Burmese nationals in Denmark, Norway and Australia, together with local organizations, have been escalating their activities to collect money for cyclone victims in Burma with a series of events.

On 24 May, Burmese nationals in Denmark, Norway and Australia held fundraisers, including prayer sessions for those who were killed by the cyclone and discussions on how to raise funds for survivors of the disaster.

In Denmark, a fundraiser was held in the second capital Aarhus. "This is the second time we have raised funds for cyclone victims in Burma. We collected 40,000 NOK the first time and sent it to Burma already. This time we expect more donations," said Aung Khin Myint, who participated in the event.

A fundraising event jointly organised by five local Norwegian organisations and Burmese expatriates was also held in Trondheim. Naing Zaw Win, who co-organised the fundraiser told DVB the event was also intended to raise awareness of the situation in Burma.

"The Norwegian Burma Committee explained the current situation for cyclone victims in Burma and the Red Cross told the audience what they had been doing," Naing Zaw Win explained.

"We also had prayer sessions for those who were killed by the cyclone. We now have working plans on how we are going to support reconstruction efforts to help those who survived."

In Australia, a fundraiser was held in Sydney together with a ceremony commemorating the 18th anniversary of the 1990 election in Burma. The event was organized by the Joint Action Committee for Democracy in Burma. Present at the event were Australian MPs from federal and state governments, professionals, locals and Burmese nationals living in Sydney and other parts of the country.

Dr Myint Cho, director of the Australia-Burma Council, told DVB that the Australian Government would systematically monitor the international cash donations given to Burma's military regime for cyclone victims.

DVB has learned that donations collected in different fundraisers are to be directly provided to those who are in urgent need through NGOs and other organisations participating in relief operations on the ground.

Reporting by Yee May Aung

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