Thailand Prime Minister Samak Sunaravej is arriving in Myanmar today where he will personally hand over an appeal to the military junta to allow more aid from the United Nations and other countries. He carries a personal plea from Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urging the junta to allow in critically needed specialists whose expertise are invaiuable in dealing with the cyclone crisis. This is not the first time Samak has used his connection with the murderous thugs who run Burma in order to find a way to aid the people of that nation. Mr. Samak has cultivated good relations with the Burma generals and even called them “good Buddhists” after they cracked down on monks demonstrating for democracy.
The Thai government has even offered to use its own planes in order to fly in supplies from the United States but the gesture was declined by the xenophobic generals. They insist only Burmese will handle relief supplies and have even placed stickers on aid from other nations which claim the goods are donations from the benevolent rulers of their country. As of this date, only one US plane has been allowed to land with supplies.
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.