Burma Cyclone


Opinion/Editorial: Politics ‘killing uncounted numbers’ in Burma:Washington Post by karenzr

A Washington Post editorial slams the junta for their ‘obscene’ indifference to human life in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis. An excerpt:

<< It is politics — the generals’ politics — that is killing uncounted numbers of children in Burma’s delta. It is the generals’ politics to rebuff emergency relief while demanding reconstruction loans that could make the junta richer. And it is the generals’ politics that is forcing villagers to strain the mud for rotten rice while tons of clean food float unused not many miles away. >>



Latest News: Villagers desperate for food, threatened by junta: LA Times, The Irrawaddy by karenzr

A graphic description from the Los Angeles Times of villagers searching for rice among corpses: Myanmar Villagers Scavenge for Rotten Rice

Charges that the junta is threatening villagers before visits by aid groups, from Irrawaddy: Cyclone Survivors Don’t Want UN Chief to Visit Delta

–Karen



Breaking News: Burmese government arrests protestors, Extends house arrest for Aung San Suu Kyi by lamivo
May 28, 2008, 5:55 pm
Filed under: Latest News | Tags: , , , ,

The Wall Street Journal reports today that the political opposition took to the streets to protest the military regime near democratic leader, Aung San Suu Kyi’s house. Suu Kyi’s house arrest was to expire this week but the junta extended it to as long as another year. An exiled spokesperson for Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy, said that about 120 party members marched towards Suu Kyi’s house that day.

“This is the time to challenge the regime,” he said. He also said they were planning more protests.

Part of the article can be read here.

-Lam



Event: Charity happy hour in DC for cyclone relief: Facebook group by carpediemdg
May 27, 2008, 11:41 pm
Filed under: Donations, Events, Facebook, Resources, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

There is a facebook group for this event

Event: charity happy hour for Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar (Burma) “donate generously”
What: Fundraiser
Host: Desis in DC
When: Thursday, May 29 at 6:00pm
Where: Josephine

To see more details and RSVP, follow the link below:
http://www.facebook.com/n/?event.php&eid=23067252036

–Divya



Photos: Irrawaddy Region where cyclone hit hardest: Mizzima by karenzr

The Burmese news site Mizzima has posted new photos of from the Irrawaddy region.

Also, the latest from the NY Times: Weeks After Cyclone in Myanmar, Even Farmers Wait For Food.

–Karen



Video: Aid complications in Myanmar by karenzr

Great New York Times video that includes interviews with the anonymous Times reporter inside Myanmar and Seth Mydans, reporting from Bangkok. Watch the video here.

–Karen



Latest News: First public comments from high-ranking Burmese military junta rep. by carpediemdg

reports that earlier today, a breakthrough was achieved following UN Sect. General, Ban-Ki-Moon’s visit to Burma. In the first public comments offered by a member of the military junta, Burmese Prime Minister, Lt. Gen. Thein Sein, finally announced that:

“Relief supplies can be transported by land, air or sea,” Lt. Gen Thein Sein told the conference, the Associated Press reported. “But if relief supplies have to be transported by water, civilian vessels can come in through Yangon port.”

Other highlights from the article:

  • Gen. Than Shwe, who did not attend Sunday’s donor meeting, has still to make any public comments on the cyclone, which left at least 133,000 people dead or missing, according to Myanmar government estimates.
  • Donors who attended the conference said they were ready to stump up more money. Many donors warned that formal pledges would be contingent on Yangon following through on its promises about access. Yangon, says it has received pledges from governments for only about one-quarter of a $200 million “flash appeal” to provide food, water, shelter and medicines for those most in need.
  • Myanmar has accepted 3,200 tons of foreign government and private aid so far. But the U.N. says that aid has only reached about a quarter of those most severely affected by the cyclone.
  • The reasons for the military’s change of position remain obscure. Here are some possible reasons offered in the Journal’s article:- Rising concern about the scale of the crisis appears to be a major factor.
  • The visit of the U.N. leader to the hierarchy-obsessed nation had been enough to break the
    impasse. In contrast, Gen. Than Shwe declined to meet U.N. special envoy to Myanmar, Ibrahim
    Gambari, during a pre-cyclone visit earlier this year.
  • Gen. Than Shwe, who is reportedly in poor health and rarely leaves the new capital, may not have
    been fully apprised of the international aid community’s demands for better access.

“This is basically a Potemkin society in which the leadership has been insulated from
unpleasantness,” said David Steinberg, director of the Asian studies program at Georgetown
University in Washington.

  • Waited to conduct its referendum on a new draft constitution, which is designed to perpetuate
    military rule. On Saturday, voting on the new constitution took place in cyclone-ravaged areas after an earlier vote was delayed. The rest of the country voted May 10 and-amid widespread reports of vote-rigging and intimidation-official results showed the constitution was approved by 92.4% of voters. With the referendum completed, Gen. Than Shwe might be more willing to allow in foreigners, Mr. Steinberg said.
  • Others said that the regime probably bowed to pressure from its own people and its neighbors,
    especially China.

Read the full article here.

–Divya