Photo by khaipi (Creative Commons)

One of the more agonizing aspects of the Cyclone Nargis aftermath has been watching Burma’s military rulers actively preventing outside aid from reaching the country’s suffering people.

So how to help, when big organizations like the Red Cross and the UN are being blocked at every turn? The answer is small-scale, grassroots efforts.

Guidebook author Robert Reid has just published an article on Lonely Planet’s website about the ‘DIY’ aid groups now active on the ground.

Matador’s own Nora Dunn has launched an effort of her own – check out her blog post and donate if you’re able!

For some background on the cyclone and the beautiful country it’s wreaked havoc on, check out Brenda Yun’s eloquent call for aid, at Brave New Traveler.

And finally, if you’re still not sure why some folks call the country Burma while others refer to it as Myanmar, Slate’s explainer column has a run-down of the various rationales used by major media outlets.

Personally, I use “Burma” because that was the name used by the democratically elected post-independence government that the military junta supplanted; they introduced the name “Myanmar” in 1989.

But by any name, the country is in dire straits! Please check out the links and pitch in if you can.