The people of Myanmar have waited for nine days for their government to indicate the slightest concern for their welfare, but, aside for two UN planes that landed, the military junta has been hesitant to make any concessions to world opinion. But, out of the blue, the thugs who govern Burma finally granted permission for a single US plane loaded with supplies to land with supplies. The UN estimates due to failure on the part of the Burmese government to act responsibily, at least 100,000 people will die because of the cyclone and the botched relief effort. Donors throughout the world have sent enough supplies to last for months but nothing is moving due to refusal on the part of the junta to allow in UN relief workers to supervise distribution of supplies and reconstruction work.
The UN has reached the point where it has absolutely no faith in the integrity of the Burmese government or its statements about the cyclone. The junta seized aid in the two UN planes that landed and allowed their own workers to distibute supplies in an effort to claim credit for any aid received by people. At this point the main concern of the junta is having a vote on their constitution which would legalize their dictatorship and imcompetence.
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.