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Tokyo, May 20, 2008: Soka Gakkai General Director Masaaki Masaki visited the Tokyo office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on May 19 to make a donation of 3 million yen (US$28,800) in support of relief efforts following the May 2 cyclone which has devastated the Irrawaddy Delta area of Myanmar.
UNHCR Representative in Japan Saburo Takizawa and Japan Association for UNHCR Executive Director Kaoru Nemoto expressed their gratitude for the donation. Mr. Takizawa said that UNHCR deeply appreciated this generous gesture and that the donation would benefit those suffering in Myanmar.
UNHCR has a large local team already working in the country and pledged that the funds would be efficiently used to buy tents to provide urgently needed shelter. The agency aims to provide a total of 50,000 tents which could house 250,000 people.
Mr. Masaki stated, "We strongly wished to take action to relieve the suffering of the people of Myanmar and we feel confident that UNHCR is well placed to do this."
Singapore Soka Association (SGI-Singapore) has also responded by assisting relief efforts organized by Mercy Relief, a Singapore-based organization promoting humanitarian relief and development projects in Asia.
On May 9, some 30 Singapore Soka Association members and other volunteers worked at the SSA youth center to pack 5 tons of relief goods purchased by Mercy Relief including tents, water purification tablets and medical supplies. These were sent to Myanmar in two shipments on May 13 and 15.
related article SGI Buddhist Associations Throughout Asia Respond to Tsunami Disaster Asian branches of SGI, one of the world's largest lay Buddhist associations, are mobilizing financial and human resources to respond to the catastrophic tsunami which devastated large parts of the region on December 26, 2004. SSA General Director Ong Bon Chai commented, "SSA's efforts to help those in need are a natural expression of our Buddhist compassion."
SSA also began a fundraising drive on May 9 and raised a total of Singapore $48,000 (US $35,000) which has been donated to Mercy Relief for further relief activities in Myanmar.
Soka Gakkai International (SGI) is a lay Buddhist association promoting peace, culture and education with 12 million members in over 190 countries and territories around the world. Its humanitarian relief activities are part of the longstanding tradition of Buddhist humanism.
Source: Soka Gakkai International
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