The frustration felt in many nations throughout the world is certainly not at the level of that shared by the Burmese people who have witnessed their “leaders” display a callous and cyncal approach to the need for relief. The toll of dead is above 130,000 while Myanmar’s generals celebrate their great “victory” in securing passage of a constitutional referendum on a new constitution. President Bush has imposed sanctions on Burma while Prime Minister Gordon Brown denounced the “inhuman treatment” of the Burmese people. “We have an intolerable situation created by a natural disaster. It is being made into a man-made catastrophe by the negligence, the neglect and the in human treatment of the Burmese people by a regime that is failing to act and to allow the international community to do what it wants o do.”
The military junta did fly some diplomats into a model camp that was set up for refugees, but it contiues blocking aid workers or journalists into the region most impacted by the cyclone. Navy shps from France and the United States are off the coast of Burma, but unable to land. Survivors say the military is pushing them out of refuge in monasteries. Some voices like that of Desmond Tutu are talking about the UN using force to get supplies to those in need. Id this an example of a justifiable use of force by the UN?
Nearly a week has passed since a devastating cyclone killed about a 100,000 Burmese and the isolationist inwardly looking thugs who run the nation have finally allowed two UN planes to land with supplies. The planes has waited for days while UN officials tried negotiating with the men who run Myanmar, but American planes sit in Thailand unable to fly into the country with needed supplies because they have yet to receive clearance. Thailand Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej offered to handle US negotiation with Burma as Richard Horsey from the UN emphasized, “it is imperative a this point tht they do open up and allow major international relief effort to get under way.” The UN World health organization has received reports of malaria outbreaks and bodies are still floating in the water.
Many villagers say they have not received any aid from their own government and depend upon local monasteries for food and shelter. Mu Sanda, who was in a monastery, said: “The government is not helping us. No aid is coming. There is no money, no rice.”
Opposition leader Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung Sari Suu Kyi is trapped in her bungalow without electricity said a neighbor and is facing the same problems as her fellow Burmese. There is considerable fear among UN workers that unless the UN handles distribution of aid, the military will siphon off supplies and ordinary citizens will be left hungry and cold. Anthony Banbury, of the World Food Program stated emphatically: “We will not just bring our supplies to an airport, dump it and take off.” The UN wants its experts on the scene, but still has yet to receive permission from the military to allow foreigners to enter and provide assistance.
Myanmar’s state television station showed pictures of Prime Minister General Thein Sein dstributing food packages to the sick and injured. The state radio’s major concern was warning people about “unscrupulous elements” who were trying to impair the situation. That is probably the best description of the military junta that has been broadcast.
Myanmar’s chief ally is China which has offered aid to the stricken nation but has yet to really exert pressure on its government to open the doors of freedom and allow in aid and assistance.