Devastating floods in Bago, in the south-central part of Myanmar, have nearly rendered the town non-functional, Tzu Chi volunteers have reached out with food, warming both stomachs and hearts. (Photo provided by Tzu Chi Foundation; Bago, Myanmar; 2023/10)

Globally, calamities seem to strike with increased frequency. This October Myanmar experienced a staggering 7.87 inches of rain in just eight days, the highest in 59 years. The most severely affected area is the Bago region in the southern-central plains, covering approximately 39,400 square kilometers -- about twice the area of New Jersey. Bago town, situated about 80 kilometers -- 50 miles -- from Yangon, has been submerged by the rising waters of the Bago River. Fearful of potential electrocution risks, the authorities suspended the power supply. Overall, an estimated 14,000 people have been left homeless as a result of the flooding.

Unite to Aid the People

In face of such a disaster, even those living on houseboats can no longer find solace. Tzu Chi volunteers are steadfastly committed to ensuring that those in the disaster-stricken areas have warm meals. Wherever accessible, volunteers use small boats to deliver food, driven by the sole wish that the residents receive not just nourishment for their bodies but also comfort for their spirits.

The scale of the disaster is vast. Buddhist monks from the Yangon Thamain Daw Daya Monastery reached out to Tzu Chi volunteers, asking for assistance in helping the residents through this trying time. The volunteers collaborated with three temples in the Yangon area and  Danyin township to prepare and cook meals; they showed a unity of purpose transcending any boundaries. The primary goal is to alleviate the immediate hunger of the residents.

If conditions are safe, Tzu Chi volunteers are determined to explore all feasible means to personally deliver hot meals to the affected people. (Photo provided by Tzu Chi Foundation; Bago, Myanmar; 2023/10)

The Impact on Residents' Livelihoods

The floods have disrupted the livelihoods of the residents. Tzu Chi volunteers, led by Guo Bao-yu (郭寶鈺), conducted a survey in the disaster-stricken area on October 9th. From the 10th to the 13th of October, they distributed over 27,000 meal boxes, bread, and drinking water, with 155 volunteer shifts involved.

A motorcyclist who received a meal box expressed gratitude; he said  that the flood had deprived him of work and income and plunged him into hardship. He deeply appreciated the warm meal provided by Tzu Chi volunteers, saying: "Being able to have a full meal now is a blessing."

Climate change has escalated the frequency of climate-related disasters. What used to be once-a-year flooding is occurring twice this year. While natural disasters are merciless, human compassion and love prevail,  paving the way for the affected communities to swiftly resume their normal lives.


What Can We Do for Mother Earth?

Here are several stories of how Tzu Chi is dedicated to environmental conservation efforts aimed at mitigating global warming.

Invest in our planet- Net Zero Green Living

Working for a Sustainable Earth

Yes, I Will Reuse

In Taiwan, Promote Veganism to Nurture Life and Save the Earth

The master (center) mentioned that this day all the Tzu Chi volunteers on duty were female. As he was a male monk, he suggested leaving the water-related distribution tasks to the male volunteers! (Photo by Nyi Min Hein; Bago, Myanmar; 2023/10)
The master from Aung Theik Monastery dedicated himself to this distribution. He commenced work at 3 AM and continued tirelessly through the day, distributing aid to those affected by the flood. His concern for the victims was such that he did not even have time for lunch. It was not until evening, upon returning to the monastery, that he realized he had not eaten all day. (Photo by Nyi Min Hein; Bago, Myanmar; 2023/10)
Everyone hurriedly loaded food onto the boat; they aimed to deliver hot meals and bread to the needy victims before lunchtime. (Photo by Yi Mon Than; Bago, Myanmar; 2023/10)
The master not only led students in cooking hot meals but also inspired children to participate in distributing aid in the disaster-stricken area. (Photo by Yi Mon Than; Bago, Myanmar; 2023/10)
Volunteers delivered hot meals and bread to the areas most in need, in the hope that fellow villagers would not suffer from hunger. (Photo by Nyi Min Hein; Bago, Myanmar; 2023/10)

Story by Chen Yongsheng, Chen Yongting, Huang Lufa
Chinese Edited by Yang Ya Ying