Update from Myanmar/Burma
- 19 May 2008
A letter from Catholic Mission’s source, in Myanmar/Burma:
“Thanks for your love and concern for us.
It was about 11 pm of 2nd May, I could hear the voices of the storm and I could not sleep anymore. The people were preparing the meal for the Wedding on the 3rd May too. They were cooking chicken and mutton & they were struggling to finish in time. I was watching them and the weather all the time. Around midnight I could hear the sounds of the breaking of trees and noises of the Zinc sheeting on the roof.
By 5am on the 3rd May some of the branches had fallen to the ground and by 6:30 the strong wind attacked the compound. Almost all the trees were uprooted or broken. About fifty zinc sheets were blown off the roof and my house was also deep in the flooded water too.
I found out that about seven of the zinc roofing sheets had disappeared.
It was really terrifying because even the smallest tree just above the ground had been affected by the wind.
There is the saying that this Cyclone is Three in One because, first, it was a Cyclone because of the violent wind moving round a calm central Area. Secondly, it was a Tsunami because the water level rose by Twelve feet. Thirdly, it was also called a Tornado because it was a whirlwind.
By 11:30 that morning everything had calmed down and we could clear the compound.
When I looked around, I could see almost all the buildings, all the trees, all the electricity pylons, and telecommunication poles were broken or uprooted. Tens of thousands have died and more than that have disappeared. The total number of dead may be more than one hundred thousand.
Some villages were wiped out by the sea water and, there, all died or are missing. Almost everyone is suffering. Many need help. I will have about one hundred and eighty five families who are struggling for their food and lodging in my parish. We are struggling to do what we can by our own means, and with the help of some generous donors.
Tomorrow I will begin the Novena to Our Lady of Fatima, Queen of Peace, on the 18th May.
Almost all the churches, clergy houses, convents, houses, schools and Government buildings also suffered in the Greater City of Yangon and some parts of Pathein.
Today, the Apostolic Delegate from Bangkok came and offered Mass, together with five other Bishops and 45 priests and many religious and laity. He conveyed the message of Condolence from Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI too. Though we are in difficulty, we still feel that we are one. Please pray for us and do something for us too.”