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© Libyan Soup 8:28am, 16 May 2008
A letter from Brett and Omar Melzer

15th May 2008
Yangon

Dear Friends

It is now almost two weeks since Cyclone Nargis struck Yangon and the delta area with such tragic force. During the cyclone, Omar and I and our children were in Australia, and have only recently returned to find the city we love devastated. Despite this most if not all people we have encountered are carrying on with their daily lives with tremendous bravery and dignity as best they can.

By all accounts however the situation in the delta area is far worse and where aid is needed most urgently over the coming months. Since our return we have spoken with many of our colleagues and friends in the local aid community as well as the local travel industry to see what can be done on a smaller scale, while the major aid donors and charities continue with their own efforts for greater access.

As local companies, Balloons over Bagan and Malikha Lodge has dedicated staff with local contacts that we feel can make a difference to some small isolated communities in the delta area, and most importantly do so under the radar quickly, directly and discreetly. We will also take responsibility to provide photographic and documentary reports of all aid that is delivered in the near future, but we will have to remain discreet in view of local operating conditions.

Our plan is two fold:

1, We will work closely with Save the Children UK, who have a significant in country operation underway. They are not short of cash, but do need assistance with qualified local personnel, procurement and logistics as they continue to gear up... In this respect we have donated for the next two months our financial controller from Malikha Lodge to help with Stock and inventory, and have put our Bagan crew at their disposal for large scale procurement of blankets, clothing and mosquito nets upcountry where prices and supplies have been less affected.

2, We will raise funds and provide material and logistical support for Bogalay and Moulmyeingyun Townships where we now have direct contact with “non government community groups” who are responsible for informal refugee camps which have sprung up in monasteries, schools and churches in the past few days. On the 17th May our in house logistics staff will accompany representatives from these committees in a small aid convoy, including an initial donation from ourselves as well as many other local private donors. Following this first small shipment we will provide photographs and a brief documentary report with the aim of attracting more funding from our network of friends family and clients to finance regular convoys over the next few critical months.

Our initial target is to raise USD 50,000 as quickly as possible In order to facilitate this, we will provide the following account in this website www.justgiving.com/myanmarcyclone,

This is the registered account of FORM UK, a charity established by Omar’s father Dr Win Maung. We will then convert these funds in country to local currency and account for them in weekly reports. For all donations, please add in the comment column “BOB/ML cyclone relief fund”

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions

Yours sincerely

Brett and Omar Melzer

Balloons over Bagan & Malikha Lodge

Sedona Hotel
Business Suite 03-06
1, Kaba Aye Pagoda Road
Yangon, Myanmar

Tel/Fax: (95) - 1 - 652 809
balloons@myanmar.com.mm
www.balloonsoverbagan.com
www.easternsafaris.com
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