May 8, 2008

Diocese will assist relief efforts in Myanmar

SAGINAW – The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw will assist Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in supporting the emergency relief and response efforts in the wake of last week’s deadly cyclone that ravaged the Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar, Terri Grierson, director of the Office of Christian Service, announced today.

According to latest CRS reports, there are around 60,000 dead or missing and 1 million people have been left homeless due to the devestation of Cyclone Nargis. The storm tore through the nation’s densly populated rice-farming Irrawaddy Delta region late Friday and into Saturday.

CRS officials say the tragic numbers demonstrate dire conditions in which basic food, shelter
and water are urgently needed. Assessment of the devastation is still underway as communication remains difficult and news trickles out of Myanmar. reported today that U.S. diplomats estimate the death toll will exceed 100,000.

“It could not have happened in a worse stretch of land. With the tidal surge at 12 to 15 feet, presumably thousands of people living along the [Irrawaddy] Delta were simply washed away,” said Pat Johns, director of the CRS emergency response team.

CRS is assisting the Caritas Internationalis network to offer relied support the most heavily affected areas of Myranmar, which also is know as Burma.

For more than 60 years, CRS has supported long-term development programs and emergency relief efforts — including responses to cyclones and other natural disasters — in the regions of Southeast Asia and the Pacific. CRS is the official international relief and development agency of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw will collect funds on behalf of CRS for disaster relief in Myanmar. Contributions can be made to the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, 5800 Weiss St., Saginaw, MI 48603-2799, Attn: Cyclone Relief. Donations also can be made directly to CRS online at

For more information, contact Terri Grierson at (989) 797-6650.

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