Dr. Mang Tiak of Houston could not eat or sleep for days when she heard news that flooding in late July wrecked her Myanmar hometown.
"Many people were suffering," she explained. "It really hit me, and I felt like I needed to do something."
The floods, which were caused by monsoons and a typhoon, brought destruction to all but two of the 14 states in Myanmar, (also known as Burma). The disaster reportedly affected one million people across the country, displacing many of them.
Tiak and her husband, Rev. Dr. Thong Kho Lun, are pastors at Greater Houston Burmese Christian Fellowship where a majority of the members also migrated from Myanmar. Heartbroken by the devastating news, the church immediately expressed desire to find ways to help.
They turned to Patty Lane with Texas Baptists' Intercultural Ministries who teamed up with Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR) to begin coordinating relief efforts. TBDR works to rebuild communities in the months and years following disasters, working to mobilize volunteers, gather donations and raise awareness about disasters and community needs.
The flooding not only destroyed homes, villages and cities, but also farmland. More than 1.2 million acres of rice fields and crops were ruined, which directly affected many livelihoods.
Dr. Lun is currently in Myanmar delivering bags of rice to around 200 displaced families he had prior communication with and is assessing priority needs in Hakha, a major city in the Chin State, and nearby villages. So far, he has reported a desperate need for rice and other agricultural products so the people can eat and rebuild their crops.
As specific needs are identified, TBDR and Texas Baptists' Intercultural Ministries will develop specific requests to help the country in their long road to recovery. To get a head start on financially supporting relief efforts for Myanmar, visit texasbaptists.org/disaster.