Burma's Monks Forge Secret Relief Network

Monks lead aid effort pushed by government reluctance
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2008 2:11 PM CDT
Burma's Monks Forge Secret Relief Network
A homeless Myanmar woman receives bags of rice from a local donor at a monastery being used as a temporary shelter on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar, Wednesday, May 21, 2008.    (AP Photo)

Although Burma’s junta relented today and allowed in foreign aid workers, weeks of delays and restrictions have led to the formation of an underground network of volunteers led by monks, Internet activists, and pro-democracy students. The Wall Street Journal looks at their efforts, which risk the wrath of the government but often provide the only life-sustaining aid for residents in the hardest-hit regions. 

"The officials only think about themselves and their own families," said one monk. "People we have seen have no food, they are under rain with no shelter and no clothes.” Bloggers organized a convoy to one delta town; a businessman ferries food by night to another. But the government, fearful of political motives, plays down their efforts and emphasizes its own in national media, slamming those who criticize its power. (More Burma stories.)

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