(MNN) — The tidal wave resulting from Cyclone Nargis killed most of the water
buffalo and other draft animals that farmers in Myanmar used to plant rice.
Without their draft animals, the farmers will not be able to
plant. If they cannot plant within the
next four weeks, the rice harvest will be minimal at best.
Duane Zook, CEO of Global Aid Network (GAiN), recently visited Myanmar
personally. He assessed GAiN's relief
work in six villages, made plans for the future, and conferred with staff
members and partners. He also used a
boat to travel to remote regions of the country.
While the people of Myanmar are still deeply in need of
many things, Zook concluded that the need for tractors to plant rice is the
most urgent need.
Literally the "rice bowl" of Southeast Asia, Myanmar
is the seventh-largest producer of rice in the world. It harvested 25.2 million tons of rice in
2007. The Irrawaddy Delta, in
particular, supplies the surrounding regions with rice.
If the next rice harvest is poor, the people of Myanmar could
face shortages and starvation. Also, it
will be even more difficult for the farmers to plant the next crop of
Zook has learned that it costs only $2,000 to provide
farmers in Myanmar
with one simple tractor, much like an over-sized, motorized tiller. If each village where GAiN is focusing its
relief efforts receives at least 5 tractors, the farmers will be able to
share. GAiN needs to raise at least
$60,000 as soon as possible, so that the rice farmers will be able to plant
before it is too late.
More than 134,000 people are dead or missing since Cyclone
Nargis struck Myanmar
on May 2. Millions more lack shelter or
clean water. Global Aid Network has
agreed to take the lead in providing relief for six villages with a combined
population of about 30,000 people.
Click here to learn how you can help.