Muddy Notebook

May 5, 2008

The cyclone in Burma/Myanmar

Filed under: humanitarian,Myanmar — carolynthewriter @ 3:40 am
Tags: , ,

Any cyclone is a tragedy. But here’s betting the impact of the cyclone that struck Myanmar over the weekend will be worsened thanks to the isolation imposed by the repressive military regime that has ruled the Southeast Asian country once known as Burma for 46 years. Myanmar generally only makes the news when the regime further jails opposition leader and Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, or beats up and arrests pro-democracy Buddhist monks.

This time it’s a natural disaster – Cyclone Nagris, which tore through Yangon and the Irrawaddy Delta with winds hitting 120 miles per hour. At least 350 people were killed, with that number likely to grow. Watch to see whether the military junta’s policies of allowing few international aid groups in and restricting the access of those who are there, cripples the humanitarian mission that the cylcone requires. According to Reuters, Therje Skavdal, a regional official of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said it will “take a few days before we get an overview of the damage.”  Let’s see if junta officials will give international relief workers the access they will need to reach victims. Let’s see if U.N. agencies and the International Committee of the Red Cross, which wisely stocked up on food and other supplies ahead of the storm, will be allowed to hire the personnel and other organizations they may need to distribute the aid, whether there are enough vehicles available for transport and whether roads, phone systems and other infrastructure slow down any operation. The junta’s secretiveness and wariness of outsiders may take an even bigger toll on the Burmese people.   

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1 Comment »

  1. […] difficulties because of military restrictions. Roads are also not accessible.” Muddy Notebook says “The junta’s secretiveness and wariness of outsiders may take an even bigger toll on the […]

    Pingback by Global Voices Online » Myanmar: The perfect storm — May 6, 2008 @ 1:57 am | Reply


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