Friday, May 09, 2008

Burma - Junta Refuses Aid Workers

One week after the terrifying storms left a trail of destruction and death in Myanmar (Burma), and left tens of thousands missing or destitute, the military junta still refuses to let in suffiient international aid workers, and aid, to help the people.

There are a few, but a coordinated releif and support effort needs both immediate aid and experienced people. The Junta has restricted both.

The Foreign Ministry, through a state-owned newspaper said it would welcome aid (relaity doesn't match the statement), but would deliver it themselves. Yet most of the images that have been shown, it is the monks and a few foreigners that have been providing immediate aid. The military, which should have been doing it, have been nowhere to be seen! Perhaps they were tending to the Generals?!

A week later and Richard Horsey (UN Office of Co-Ordination of Humanitarian Affairs) was reported in The Age as saying: "There are large swathes of the lower Irrawaddy delta completely under water. We are talking 5000 square kilometres under water. It's a vast area" . That's about 40% of the area of greater Sydney!

It is time the military dictators let in appropriate numbers of international aid workers "- people and organisations that have the experience and expertise to manage disaster relief, and medical and rebuilding assistance. China, as a major financial supporter of the Junta, has a role to play in facilitating outside assistance.