Aid Workers Inspired by Burning Man Spirit

Sunday, April 6, 2008

(04-06) 04:00 PDT Pisco, Peru — Carmen Mauk stands in flip-flops atop a pile of broken bricks as she surveys a city devastated by a magnitude 8.0 earthquake.

“People are being bled of their resources,” the San Francisco resident said. “They’re still waiting for their lots to be cleared – they won’t get government help until then.”

Mauk is the director of Burners Without Borders, a San Francisco nonprofit organization that is helping Peruvians clear rubble so they can start rebuilding.

Burners Without Borders grew out of an ad hoc relief effort in 2005, after hundreds of volunteers from the annual Burning Man art festival – who call themselves Burners – helped Biloxi, Miss., residents after Hurricane Katrina. Since then, Burners have participated in more than a dozen relief programs, including a coat drive for homeless people in London, debris cleanup after Southern California wildfires, a reconstruction effort in tsunami-ravaged Thailand and emergency flood work in Nevada. For the Pisco project, the group has raised more than $54,000 – mostly over the Internet from Burning Man participants.

Read it on SFGate…

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