Engaged Buddhism: JTS Korea volunteers bring emergency aid to victims of Cyclone Moka in Myanmar

- through Henry Oudin

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JTS Korea volunteers with Noble Heart team members. Image courtesy of JTS Korea

After devastating Tropical Cyclone Mocha hit Myanmar in May, volunteers from JTS Korea, an international humanitarian organization founded by revered Korean monk Venerable Pomnyun Sunim, traveled to Myanmar's Rakhine State in mid-June to cooperate with local NGO Noble Heart to provide humanitarian aid to survivors of the disaster.

Cyclone Mocha, the biggest storm in more than a decade, hit Myanmar and parts of Bangladesh in May, leaving a trail of destruction and suffering in its wake, with the death toll estimated at at least 460 people, according to media reports, and hundreds more missing. Most of the dead were Rohingya refugees in the hardest hit region, Rakhine State.

“In response to these dire circumstances, JTS volunteers, in collaboration with Noble Heart, visited the typhoon-affected areas of Myanmar,” JTS Korea told BDG. “Their mission was to provide essential food and relief materials to 1 households in Minkan village, providing support in the form of basic food items and tarpaulins worth $000 per household.”

The Buddhist relief organization Join Together Society (JTS) was established by Ven. Pomnyun Sunim as an expression of the compassion of committed Buddhism, and based on the principle that helping others is the best way to enrich one's own life. Charged with bringing hope, empowerment and self-reliance to disadvantaged communities in developing countries, JTS is run and operated by unpaid volunteers, who ensure that all donations benefit marginalized communities. JTS carries out relief activities in countries affected by humanitarian disasters and has engaged in humanitarian projects in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, North Korea, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. The humanitarian organization has also been granted special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

After conducting a field survey in the most affected areas and discussing providing relief to 1 households in Minkan Village near the state capital, Sittwe, JTS Korea and Noble Heart mobilized the distribution of 000 kilograms of rice as well as cooking oil, salt, instant noodles and tarpaulins to seal roofs and ensure dry shelter, for each of the 20 households.

“Around 1,5 million people were affected by the disaster,” observed JTS Korea. “People are now in dire need of food, water, shelter and medical supplies. »

The category five storm hit Myanmar's coast in mid-May, destroying thousands of homes, schools, medical facilities - and in some cases entire villages - as well as shelter encampments that are home to displaced Rohingya Muslims, an ethnic minority in Myanmar classified by the government as stateless foreign migrants, even though many Rohingya communities have lived in Myanmar for generations. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), 1,6 million people in Myanmar have been affected by the storm, most of whom live in Rakhine State.

"Rapid assistance is difficult due to the ongoing conflict in Myanmar," added JTS Korea. “Our sincere hope is that even a small measure of relief has been provided to alleviate the suffering of affected people and communities in Myanmar.

“The second round of humanitarian aid will follow soon. »

A man stands on the rubble of houses destroyed by Cyclone Mocha in western Sittwe. At rfa.org
Residents of West Sittwe dry grain salvaged from the roof of a collapsed house. At rfa.org

Fri. Pomnyun Sunim is a widely revered Dharma teacher, author and social activist. He founded many organizations, initiatives and projects around the world. Among them are JTS Korea, an international aid organization working to eradicate poverty and hunger, and Jungto Society, a volunteer-based community grounded in the teachings of the Buddha and dedicated to solving modern social issues that lead to poverty. suffering. Fri. Pomnyun Sunim also works closely with the International Network of Committed Buddhists (INEB).

In October 2020, the Niwano Foundation for Peace in Japan presented the 37th Niwano Peace Prize to Ven. Pomnyun Sunim in recognition of the revered monk's international humanitarian work, environmental and social activism, and tireless efforts to build trust and goodwill between communities of different faiths and cultures, towards the goal of world peace. *

* Buddhist monk Ven. Pomnyun Sunim Receives 37th Niwano Peace Prize (BDG)

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Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

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