updated 9th Sept 2008 click for latest

The cyclone hit on May 2nd and 3rd.  A week later, still without electricity and telephone at home, a friend found an internet cafe open and sent an email message to her son and some friends abroad, telling us of what had happened in Yangon.  Three days later came another letter, of gradual realization of the absolute devastation in the Delta.

On June 3rd a BBC news item entitled Untold story of Burma's relief effort describes "thousands of ordinary Burmese" travelling to the Delta, "at risk of arrest, to hand out food and water they have paid for themselves."

Here are translations of my friend's letters and some photographs which she has sent, describing the participation of one such group of people in that effort.

Some of the obstacles have verged on the surreal.

When we reached PanHlaing Bridge, car registration numbers were being collected, there was a huge jam of 200 cars or so, all filled with donations.  We were stuck for a long time.  Only after our car number was recorded could we continue onwards

The first letter, dated May 9th, contains no inkling of what was about to emerge, and describes only the situation in Yangon.