Leave no fingerprints

Disaster | U.S.
by Mark Bergin
Posted 5/31/08, 12:00 am

Tim Costello, the director of World Vision Australia, was among the select few outside aid workers granted visas in the first week following Myanmar's cyclone disaster. He arrived in Yangon May 8 to witness both the horror of large-scale calamity and the grit of determined humanity: "Massive trees uprooted, literally roots lying across power lines, houses, and roads. The force of this was just extraordinary. And this was just the periphery here in Yangon, not the belly of the beast." It was also nearly a week after the storm subsided.

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Blowing the roof off

Disaster | Myanmar's devastating cyclone may open a closed country to outsiders as never before
Posted 5/17/08, 12:00 am

A week after Cyclone Nargis hit the Irrawaddy delta in Myanmar, nearly 2,000 square miles of the hard-hit region are still under water. With U.S. officials estimating up to 100,000 dead and the delta's 6 million residents susceptible to disease and further devastation, outside relief will be a long-term essential-but controversial.

As of last week the military junta that rules Myanmar, also known as Burma, was blocking U.S. and other Western aid into the region.

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Beyond charity

Relief work | Simple design solutions are revolutionizing the undeveloped world one grateful village at a time
by Mark Bergin
Posted 5/03/08, 12:00 am

Agou Avedje, a 600-person village in the western African country of Togo, is indicative of many small communities in undeveloped parts of the world. Disease and malnutrition are endemic due to lack of sanitation and limited access to clean water.

Tragically, such problems are not primarily for lack of financial or material resources, but for lack of knowledge. The solution: simple engineering ingenuity.

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