Burma Cyclone


Opinion/Editorial: The real reason Than Shwe declined U.S. assistance by carpediemdg

As news about the Myanmar cyclone and it’s aftermath recedes into the background (including in the media), an op-ed in the Burmese news magazine, The Irrawaddy, sheds light on why the junta refused assistance from the U.S. military. And I quote,

“What the generals truly fear is that if they allow US warships and foreign forces to come to the aid of cyclone survivors in the Irrawaddy delta, people will soon rise up and the regime would be overthrown. That fear prevented the Than Shwe regime from allowing the US to come in and help.”

As the fate of more than 2 million remains unknown, local Burmese sources such as The Irrawaddy are good to remain tuned in to what’s happening on the ground.

Some of the it’s top stories include:

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Latest News: Junta Evicting Cyclone Victims by karenzr

The latest New York Times story says that a visit to some of the Irrawaddy Delta villages hardest hit by the cyclone suggests “that the story of the death and destruction, compounded by the junta’s actions, has been neither fully told nor even fully seen.” Their reporter inside Myanmar is still anonymous.

–Karen



Latest News: Junta reneging on promises to UN chief: Economist by carpediemdg

A month of misery
(First para of the article)

WHEN the United Nations’ secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, met Myanmar’s reclusive leader, General Than Shwe, on May 23rd, he secured a promise of free access for foreign aid workers to the millions of victims of cyclone Nargis. But more than a month after the cyclone, many have still not been reached. Access to the devastated Irrawaddy delta is only slightly freer.

Read the full article here.

–Divya



Latest News: Burmese Junta says “yes” to foreign and commercial aid but “no” to military assistance by carpediemdg

Myanmar to allow foreign aid

U.N. chief says Myanmar yields on international aid workers, but not on military help.


ASSOCIATED PRESS
Saturday, May 24, 2008

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar — Myanmar’s ruling junta said Friday it will let foreign aid workers and commercial ships help survivors in the cyclone-ravaged Irrawaddy Delta, but it refused to relent on accepting aid from U.S., French and British military ships.

The naval ships, almost within sight of the coast for more than a week, offer a potential boost to the aid effort because they can send helicopters to the hardest-to-reach spots.

The military regime told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday that all aid workers would be let into the country as long as it was clear what they were doing and how long they would remain.

Read full article here.

–Divya



Latest News: Save the Children reaches 160,000 cyclone survivors with aid by carpediemdg

According to a recent press release by Save the Children Alliance on ReliefWeb, the organization has reached 160,632 people including more than 50,000 children with food, water, shelter materials, household supplies and oral-rehydration salts to treat diarrhea.

Other highlights from the release include:

  • The death toll from Cyclone Nargis continues to rise. Unofficial estimates from the United Nations suggest that as many as 102,000 people have died, and up to 1.9 million people have been affected.
  • Authorities have declared five regions — with an estimated total population of 24 million — to be in a state of emergency, including Yangon Division, Pegu Division, Mon State, Karen State and the Irrawaddy Division.
  • Humanitarian agencies are expressing concern about an impending hungry season, as the rice planting thatI normally begins in June may be hampered by lack of tools and supplies, as well as by land made less arable by an influx of salt water from the storm surge.
  • Even before the disaster, an estimated 30 percent of children in the region suffered from chronic malnutrition, according to health experts.
  • Throughout Myanmar’s Irrawaddy Delta region, many villages have been devastated, with thousands of homes destroyed, and more than 3,000 schools damaged.
  • Much of the delta is reachable only by boat, even in normal times, but many boats were destroyed in the storm — limiting the ability of storm survivors to find food, water and medical assistance.

Read the full press release here.

–Divya



Latest News: NYT reporter reaches Bogale township where 10,000 perished by karenzr

The unnamed New York Times reporter(s?) in Myanmar have been doing great work to report the suffering of the people in the Irrawaddy Delta region. The following line is from a report on Bogale – one of the hardest-hit areas – in today’s paper. 95 percent of the houses in Bogale are believed to have been destroyed in the cyclone.

<<This reporter, whose name is being withheld to avoid detection by the government, was able to reach some, but not all, of the worst-affected areas by hiding in the bottom of a boat.>>

–Karen