Cyclone Nargis tore through Myanmar (Burma) May 2 with unexpected fury, causing a tidal surge that swept inland and devastated Myanmar’s most populated regions, leaving homes and businesses flattened and families forever changed.

Satellite images reveal extensive damage along the entire costal plain. Current reports place the death toll over 20,000, with another 40,000 missing.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is responding to the widespread need in Myanmar. Working through partners such as Church World Service, one of the few agencies with permits to work in Myanmar, allows UMCOR to respond to disasters in some of the world’s most remote places. The international community is working to open up relationships between the US and Myanmar so that more assistance can be provided to survivors.

The Rev. Sam Dixon, UMCOR’s top executive, spoke with Bishop Zothan Mawia of the Methodist Church in Lower Myanmar. “I wanted to speak with him personally to express our deep concern for the people of Myanmar following this catastrophe,” said Dixon. Bishop Mawia is presently in the United States.

“We are thankful for the prayers and response of the United Methodist people,” said Mawia in his phone conversation with Dixon.

Additional avenues of response are being explored through Action by Churches Together and other partners. The unique political situation in Myanmar poses some challenges to UMCOR’s response. UMCOR continues to monitor the situation and expects to respond to help the people of Myanmar recover as opportunities become available.

How You Can Help

Please pray for the people of Myanmar who have suffered great losses. Pray also for new venues for assistance to be opened to help those in need. Financial gifts will allow UMCOR to respond immediately and with generosity when the appropriate structures are in place to receive further assistance.

Gifts to UMCOR Advance #3019674, Myanmar Emergency, will help survivors of Cyclone Nargis.