Minn. connections to Myanmar cyclone

Water que in Myanmar
People of the main city, Yangon, were busy clearing roads blocked by fallen trees and queuing to collect water from neighbours with private wells, as supplies were cut by the storm.
HLA HLA HTAY/AFP/Getty Images

Members of Minnesota's ethnic Karen community are worried about the deadly cyclone that has ravaged their native Myanmar, killing more than an estimated 22,464 people.

The Karen are one of the state's fastest growing refugee groups. Many fled Myanmar's ruling military junta over the past decade before resettling in the US.

Map of Myanmar
Map of Myanmar
Map courtesy of the CIA

Community leader Robert Zan says many of his friends and relatives in Minnesota been sharing the latest news with one another through phone and email. Zan has not been able to get through to an aunt and a cousin who live in one of the five regions hit.

"We feel very sorry for our people there. We think we'd like to collect money and send money to the victims," Zan said.

Zan is a member of First Baptist Church in downtown St. Paul. The Karen helped revive the historic church since the first refugees arrived about eight years ago. He says more than a thousand Karen live in the St. Paul area.

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