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May 21, 2008 (DVB), An event to raise funds for Burma's cyclone victims and increase awareness was held at Chiang Mai University's Convention Centre in northern Thailand yesterday afternoon.
The fundraiser was jointly organized by local NGOs, news agencies, Chiang Mai University and others who are interested in relief efforts.
Win Min, a Chiang Mai-based Burma researcher, was among those who spoke at the event.
"The event mainly focuses on how the cyclone devastated Burma, what the impact of the cyclone will be, what the needs of victims are in the post-cyclone period, how Thai people can help the victims and how to raise funds for survivors," Win Min said.
The fundraiser started at 3.30 pm and ended at around 10 pm. Along with panel discussions, the event included a prayer for those who were killed in the storm and the survivors, a video documentary about the Salween dam to give the Thai audience more background on Burma, and performances by Thai and Burmese musicians.
To raise funds for cyclone survivors, paintings by a number of artists were auctioned and Burmese food and toys were on sale. Donation boxes were also available for the audience to donate as much money they could.
"Through this fundraiser, we can raise awareness about Burma in Thai community, raise funds and send it to needy people inside Burma," Win Min commented.
"[We can] ask our Thai friends to request the Thai government to provide more assistance to Burma's cyclone victims and urge the Thai government to push the military regime in Burma to cooperate with the international community in the current relief and life saving efforts."
Reporting by Maung Too