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Open Doors USA Urges Prayer for Cyclone Victims in Burma

Contact: Jerry Dykstra, Media Relations Director, Open Doors USA, 616-915-4117, JerryD@odusa.org

SANTA ANA, Calif., May 8 /Christian Newswire/ -- The situation in Burma continues to deteriorate as a result of last Saturday's devastating cyclone.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that American diplomat Shari Villarosa said the number of deaths could eventually exceed 100,000 because safe food and water were scarce and unsanitary conditions widespread. The United Nations reported there were 1 million homeless people.

Also, there were reports that the country's military junta was making it difficult for some international aid to get into Burma, according to the Associated Press.

Open Doors USA is calling on Christians in the West to mobilize in prayer for those suffering as a result of one of the worst natural disasters in Burma history.

"The pictures we are seeing and the reports coming out of the country are heart-breaking," says Open Doors USA President Carl Moeller. "Many of them have not only lost their homes and possessions, but many have lost loved ones.

"We need to blanket these hungry and homeless survivors in prayer. Many do not have access to food, clean water or medicine. Even though Burma’s borders may be closed, our prayers can pass through. Join us in prayer now!"

Below is a summary of the situation for Christians inside Burma, according to Open Doors' World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most severe persecution. Burma is No. 25 on the list of 50 countries.

No. 25 Burma

Burma, which is approximately 90 percent Buddhist and 4 percent Christian,  is a police state. The army has ruled the country for many decades. There is limited freedom of religion. Most of the country's Christians belong to ethnic minorities. Army campaigns against these minorities often have a side-effect of persecuting Christians. The situation for Christians in Rangoon seems to be okay, but it is difficult to assess the situation in the countryside. The regime restricts travel of foreigners. At the end of September 2007, the regime reacted with its usual iron-fist approach to quench the pro-democracy demonstrations in Burma. Dozens were killed, and hundreds if not thousands were arrested. What was most remarkable in this event was the prominent role Buddhist clergy played in defying the regime and the incredible hardness of the regime against the monks. It seems that the "automatic" link between the regime and the state-controlled form of Buddhism has now disappeared.

Prayer Points:

  • Pray that the leaders of Burma will honor the efforts of those around the world who want to help the survivors
  • Pray that the tens of thousands of people missing will be found alive
  • Pray that food, clean water and shelter will be delivered to the most needy as soon as possible
  • Pray that Christians in Burma will feel the peace and comfort of worldwide prayers

An estimated 200 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with another 200 to 400 million facing discrimination and alienation. Open Doors supports and strengthens believers in the world's most difficult areas through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development, prayer and presence ministry and advocacy on behalf of suffering believers. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to our Website at www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.

(For more information or to set up an interview, contact Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 or email jerryd@odusa.org).