Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Over the past few days, we've followed the devastation left in the wake of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar (Burma). News reports have tallied more than 22,000 dead with another 41,000 missing. We're extremely saddened by the loss of life due to this cyclone, and hope you'd like to help assist with the relief effort.
As we did after last fall's wildfires in Southern California, we've created a Checkout Donations page so you can easily donate to UNICEF or Direct Relief International. Both organizations are working to directly assist the victims on the ground in Myanmar.
To help visualize the damage, there are Google Earth layers showing an animation of the cyclone's path (using satellite imagery from the Naval Research Laboratory) and the extent of the flooding using data from the UN Institute for Training and Research Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT). We'll keep posting information to the Lat-Long Blog as more data comes available.
There are also several Google Grants non-profits working to provide relief to those affected. Save the Children currently has a 500-person staff in the area, while Oxfam America has committed $800,000 to help NGOs meet the immediate needs of people. World Vision and Doctors Without Borders are also taking action with two of the most vulnerable populations in the crisis: children and the injured. We are pleased to be working with and supporting these organizations that are contributing directly to cyclone relief. We encourage you to visit them and consider lending them your support, too. For more details on these organizations and other non-profits providing support for the victims of the disaster, visit the Google Grants blog.
In addition to the Google Grants non-profits, we want to highlight a few additional organizations we've gotten to know through Google.org's Predict and Prevent initiative, which supports a regional disease surveillance network with six Mekong Basin countries, including Myanmar. These on-the-ground organizations are working around the clock to deliver resources to the victims of Cyclone Nargis. CARE has more than 14 years’ experience in Myanmar and will assist hundreds of thousands of people in the coming days with their immediate needs (including water, food and shelter), as well as providing long term recovery solutions over the next few years. International Medical Corps is deploying an emergency response team that will help address urgent health needs in addition to distributing medical supplies in the hardest hit areas, and NetHope is working to provide technology and satellite communication solutions for many responding organizations.
The Google Earth and Maps team continues to make new imagery and relevant data available. The latest Lat Long Blog post shows how Direct Relief International is using Google Earth to plan its work, including a KML layer of health facilities in Myanmar. We continue to follow the political situation with concern and hope aid can flow rapidly to the people of Myanmar who need it so desperately.
Update: Added two new paragraphs at the end.