Eight years ago this month Cyclone Nargis killed more than 150,000 people in Myanmar. The military regime that controlled the government at the time never released the true casualty numbers, but in addition to the dead and missing an estimated three million people were displaced and left homeless.
The U.S. military used C-130s to fly nearly 200 humanitarian missions that delivered relief supplies and food to Myanmar’s Irrawaddy region — but much of that aid ended up being sold on the black market in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Jakarta by corrupt Myanmar government officials (who ironically threatened their citizens with prison for the same offense).
The impact on Myanmar’s children is still being felt. Thousands were left homeless. Thousands more were made orphans. Eight years later they are malnourished, uneducated, and healthcare is non-existent.
I was blessed with a unique opportunity the past few days. I visited Nargis orphans in Thanlyin, Myanmar, with a non-profit group and we gave out books, toys, and candy.
But now I’m left with the same thoughts I always have after an opportunity like this — what’s the point? The visit made us feel good, but the kids will wake up tomorrow just as poor, hungry, and uneducated as they are today.
It would be nice if I could wake up tomorrow with better ideas about how to help them.