Wednesday, May 14, 2008

[BurmaSolidarity] EU ministers discuss Myanmar aid

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News Headlines

1. EU ministers discuss Myanmar aid

2.
Why Myanmar's junta steals foreign aid

3. Danish premier backs French idea to 'force' Myanmar to let aid in

4. Dangers of reporting on Myanmar's cycloneTuesday, May 13, 2008Story Media
Top Stories

5. WHO releases $350,000 to Myanmar for medical aid

6.
Considering a humanitarian invasion of Myanmar

7. Asian governments urged to pressure Myanmar

8. Do you know someone in Myanmar or China?

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EU ministers discuss Myanmar aid

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

(05-13) 03:52 PDT BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) --

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana says officials must use all diplomatic means to convince Myanmar's military leaders to let in more emergency aid to cyclone victims.

Solana spoke Tuesday before emergency talks in Brussels with ministers from all 27 EU nations.

He says EU diplomats are pushing the United Nations to take action to convince Myanmar to open its doors to aid workers.

Solana says the "most important objective" now for international donors ― including the EU ― is to get aid into the Asian country devastated by a deadly cyclone.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2008/05/13/international/i035232D40.DTL&feed=rss.business

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Southeast Asia
May 14, 2008

Why Myanmar's junta steals foreign aid

By Brian McCartan

CHIANG MAI, Thailand - Myanmar's generals may have more than self-promoting propaganda in mind by commandeering aid provided by international donors and insisting that the military deliver it without the assistance and expertise of foreign disaster relief personnel. The junta's control of aid and food stocks may rather be a hedge to remain in power.

The junta's insistence on holding a constitutional referendum at the preset date on Saturday, despite the widespread destruction caused by Cyclone Nargis, demonstrated clearly its determination to hold onto power at all costs. The regime only postponed the election in 47 townships affected by the cyclone in Yangon and Irrawaddy Divisions.

The referendum was labeled a sham by rights groups, Myanmar's political opposition and several foreign governments. The seemingly overwhelming "Yes" vote the constitution received was widely predicted after months of government intimidation. Fears of vote rigging were largely borne out by widespread reports from opposition political and media organizations.

Yet the generals apparently have a different agenda in their handling and distribution of international aid, which has been widely criticized for not allowing foreign aid workers to assist with distribution. While the first priority was clearly solidifying their rule through the referendum, they are also haunted by an almost pathological fear of a split inside their own ranks. During the popular demonstrations in September last year there were numerous reports of dissent within the rank and file, especially when it came to shooting monks who were in the forefront of the demonstrations.

The generals will likely have come to the same conclusions as many outside observers: their rice bowl has been badly damaged in the Irrawaddy Delta region and will likely not recover quickly. This is going to put a severe strain on existing rice stocks at a time the purchase of foreign rice has become increasingly expensive due to surging global commodity prices.

From the junta's perspective, the group that needs to be fed first is the 400,000 strong military, rather than the desperate civilian survivors of the crisis. With their respective family members, the military's associated numbers could be as high as 2 million, according to one Western military source. To the generals, the people now gathering in makeshift camps can be controlled, but only if the military remains united. An army without food or with starving families, especially in an army where most of the soldiers were forcibly recruited, is much more likely to revolt.

Lack of food is a perennial problem in Myanmar's army. In a report released on May 9 by Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG), based on interviews with army deserters, the group said, "Threats, physical abuse and under nourishment are rife in the [Myanmar] army." While the soldiers interviewed by KHRG were serving at the frontline were food is often scarce, foreign residents in Myanmar have also commented on the malnourished look of soldiers in urban areas like Yangon and Mandalay.

In the 1990s, orders were issued to the army to be self-sufficient and live off the land. According to numerous reports by human rights groups like KHRG, Human Rights Foundation of Monland, Shan Human Rights Foundation and international groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, this policy has resulted in looting, extortion, forced labor and the forced confiscation of land for military farms.

These abuses have been noted in particular in the insurgency-plagued border areas, as well as in the relatively more peaceful central areas of the country - including the Irrawaddy Delta. These methods have kept the soldiers fed, at least at a basic subsistence level. Falling morale, however, is a problem in the military and the leaked documents of several high-level military meetings noted rising desertion levels and discontent in the ranks before the cyclone hit.

Some of this, according to deserters, is due to insufficient rations for themselves and their families. While a pressing problem, it had not become so severe that whole units were deserting or revolting. Now, with severe food shortages looming through the damage wrought by Cyclone Nargis, if soldiers are not given priority in aid distribution and are unable to feed themselves, the possibility of mutiny rises.

Death to the military
Cyclone Nargis did not only kill civilians, destroy homes and wipe out crops; it also took its toll on the military. The navy was particularly hard hit by the cyclone and the ensuing tidal wave. According to a senior opposition military officer, many navy ships were sunk and several hundred sailors were killed in the storm. The naval station on Hainggyi Island, the headquarters of the Pamawaddy Regional Command, was particularly hard hit. The Irrawaddy magazine, citing Myanmar naval sources, reported that up to 25 vessels were destroyed and 280 officers and sailors had gone missing.

The navy was not the only service to suffer. The Irrawaddy Delta is the operational area of the Southwest Regional Command, headquartered at Bathein. The command comprises 13 battalions spread out in camps throughout the region, including Pyapon and Mawlamyinegyun, both areas hard hit by the cyclone. The Southwest Command is also a politically important post.

Previous commanders of the post include Senior General Saw Maung, leader of the 1988 palace coup that installed the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), which was renamed the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) in 1997, as well as current junta leader Senior General Than Shwe and General Thura Shwe Mann, the current number three in the SPDC, joint commander-in-chief of the military and widely tipped to be a possible successor to Than Shwe.

From 1949 to the early 1970s, the Irrawaddy Delta was a battleground between the army and insurgents of the Karen National Union (KNU) and the Burmese Communist Party. Although both groups were pushed out of the area in the early 1970s, the army remained. In 1991, during what was called the "Bogalay Crisis", the KNU sent fighters and arms to the delta for an abortive insurrection. Although quickly crushed, the army expanded its presence through various camps situated in the region.

According to military opposition sources and residents, it can be safely assumed that many of these camps would also have been wiped out by the recent storm. Military bases and camps of the Yangon and Western Commands, responsible for Yangon Division and Arakan State respectively, would also likely have been affected.

No estimates of military casualties are available, but the toll on the soldiers could be on a par with civilian casualties in the area. Many soldiers and their family members in the Irrawaddy Delta and Yangon would likely have lost family members, or currently are struggling to get food and other necessities.

For the generals, this is where the importance of international aid comes in. With rice crops and storage facilities destroyed, bases wiped out, already discontented soldiers running out of food and with many of their family members dead, injured or unable to feed or fend for themselves, the military leadership needs to move quickly to preserve their hold over the rank and file and thus their hold on political power.

Several witnesses claim that aid supplies given by the generals, with certain military leaders' names painted on the packages, are only a propaganda exercise. They say that once the video cameras are turned off, the soldiers pack up the remaining undistributed aid and take it away. In one state-television broadcast, labels with the names of army generals were shown pasted over aid packages clearly saying "Aid from the Kingdom of Thailand".

The World Food Program temporarily halted aid flights on Friday after the military seized two food shipments, but resumed them the next day saying the scale of the humanitarian crisis necessitated sending the aid even if they could not control its distribution. More aid is now arriving in Myanmar, but relief officials say it is only a trickle and much more will be needed to avoid a wider humanitarian disaster.

Official government statistics now stand at 28,458 dead and 33,416 people missing. According to figures presented by the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, based on their own assessments, an estimated 1,215,885 to 1,919,485 people have been adversely affected by the cyclone. They also estimate there are anywhere between 63,290 to 101,682 dead and 220,000 missing.

Yet the junta continues to hamper aid efforts by denying visas to humanitarian relief specialists, many of whom are now stranded in neighboring Bangkok. The military regime has consistently said it wants the relief supplies, but not the aid workers. It especially does not want aid workers who may control the distribution of relief supplies, precisely because that would keep the military from monopolizing the dispersal of the aid and prevent it from channeling it to its own members.

These numbers will likely rise as fuller assessments are made and many survivors succumb to disease, deprivation and starvation. Of particular concern to relief agencies is the threat of diseases such as cholera, malaria, typhus and dysentery brought on by the lack of proper shelter and sanitation and with drinking water contaminated by the dead.

Residents of Yangon and the Irrawaddy Delta say that the local population is increasingly outraged by the junta's lack of assistance and its hoarding of aid. To the junta's top generals, far away in their bunkers in their secluded new capital at Naypyidaw, the aid distribution policy is apparently political survival at all costs. But as it becomes more apparent to the wider suffering population that the junta is only looking after its own that policy could stoke more unrest than it avoids.

Brian McCartan is a freelance journalist based in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He can be reached at brianpm@comcast.net.

(Copyright 2008 Asia Times Online Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)


http://atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/JE14Ae01.html

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Danish premier backs French idea to 'force' Myanmar to let aid in

Posted : Tue, 13 May 2008 11:47:05 GMT
Author : DPA
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Copenhagen - Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen Tuesday expressed concern over the slow pace of getting relief shipments to cyclone victims in Myanmar. Rasmussen told reporters he was "interested" in studying a proposal floated by France a week ago to "force" Myanmar's military rulers to allow international relief shipments - after an initial decision by the United Nations. The Danish premier underlined that it was likely very difficult to get UN approval for such a move, adding that it was necessary for the international community to act "together" to ensure the speedy shipments of aid to the victims of Cyclone Nargis that hit Myanmar early May. Some eight experts from the Danish Emergency Management Agency were meanwhile on standby with nine mobile water-purification units, and ready to fly to Myanmar at the end of the week - providing they get entry visas. The small units are easy to transport by pickup truck or small boat to disaster areas, the agency said. "They are so efficient that they can even purify sewage water for use as drinking water," Peter Kaas Claesson, one of the experts on standby, told broadcaster DR. In an effort to speed up the visa processing, the Danish team sent copies of their applications with a team of Swedish relief workers who flew Tuesday to Myanmar with tents aimed for homeless victims.

Copyright, respective author or news agency

http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/205091,danish-premier-backs-french-idea-to-force-myanmar-to-let.html

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Dangers of reporting on Myanmar's cycloneTuesday, May 13, 2008Story Media Top Stories

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) - "I can't talk now, I think I'm in danger," a reporter in Myanmar whispered into the phone. Click.
Phones are tapped and the few foreign journalists inside Myanmar are operating in secret, making it dangerous and difficult to tell the story of the cyclone that has devastated the Southeast Asian country.
Covering catastrophes always carries risk in impoverished countries where disasters can cause shortages of food, clean water, outbreaks of disease and staggering death tolls. But the challenges are multiplied in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, where the reclusive and notoriously brutal military regime does not want details of the suffering to leak out.
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"This government is very paranoid, very xenophobic and they think this cyclone could undermine their credibility," said Aung Zaw, editor of Irrawaddy, a Thailand-based magazine and Web site put out by exiled Myanmar journalists.
"The military regime wants to conceal the extent of the damage. And they don't want the Burmese people telling foreigners the true story."
According to the U.N. the May 3 cyclone may have killed between 62,000 and 100,000, and left up to 2 million survivors facing disease and starvation.
Foreign journalists - like many foreign aid workers - have not been allowed into the country. Local reporters have faced harassment and risk imprisonment for stories that offend the famously thin-skinned ruling generals.
While a reporter in Myanmar was talking to an editor in Bangkok, loud tick-tick-tick sounds could be heard on the telephone line, often an indication of a tapped phone. That day, the reporter had been informed that the government was not pleased by an unflattering detail about the junta in a recent story. The reporter expressed concern about being arrested before abruptly hanging up. The reporter has so far not been detained.
Tightly controlled state media paints a one-sided picture of a beneficent junta. The New Light of Myanmar and other government mouthpieces only show images of the junta distributing aid and comforting survivors, making little or no mention of help pouring in from around the world.
Reporters Without Borders and other media watchdogs have urged the junta to lift its ban on journalist visas, noting that news reports and images broadcast around the world play a key role in helping disaster victims and reconstruction efforts.
"Journalists have an important role to play," the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said in a statement. "Their reporting often uncovers previously undiscovered areas of need, and they help keep the international community of donors informed of conditions on the ground."
At the Myanmar Embassy in neighboring Thailand, several journalists seeking visas were told they were blacklisted after entering Myanmar on tourist visas in September 2007 during the junta's deadly crackdown on pro-democracy protests led by Buddhist monks.
Images of troops firing on monks broadcast by global news networks enraged the junta and prompted a tightening of the already severe restrictions on media freedoms, the CPJ said in a recent report.
Among those killed in last year's crackdown was Kenji Nagai, 50, a video journalist for Japan's APF News. Video footage of Nagai's death appearing to show a soldier shooting the journalist at close range was televised around the world.
Myanmar's military government said Nagai's death was an accident and that he had not been deliberately targeted.
But commentaries in the state-controlled press implied that he was responsible for his own fate because he came into the country pretending to be a tourist and then put himself in a dangerous situation.
Since the cyclone, a few reporters have managed to get into Myanmar, concealing the satellite phones, battery packs and generators needed to operate in the cyclone-hit areas where electricity is down and there is no cell phone coverage.
But getting into the country is just the first of many hurdles.
Undercover police keep constant watch over hotels popular with journalists in Yangon, the commercial capital, prompting many reporters to constantly change locations to avoid attracting attention.
"Myanmar authorities are now searching hotels outside the capital in search of Westerners. The authorities were going room to room in a number of hotels," the London-based aid group PLAN said in a statement, citing accounts from journalists in the country.
The junta's jitters are rubbing off on international aid organizations, many of which say they are uncomfortable speaking in public to reporters out of fear that associating with media could jeopardize their relief efforts.
Police checkpoints along the roads that link Yangon to the devastated Irrawaddy delta in the south stop cars to ask passengers their identities, passport numbers and reasons for travel.
CNN reporter Dan Rivers hid under a blanket in the back of a van at one checkpoint after sneaking into the country and being informed by a local contact that his TV reports had made him a marked man. Police at one point questioned him and demanded his passport, alarming Rivers who has covered hotspots around the world.
After five days in Myanmar, Rivers returned to his base in Thailand, thinking, "I'd used my nine lives up and it was time to get out of the country."
Leaving is not an option for Myanmar's local journalists, who require exit permits for trips out of the country. A variety of national security laws have been used for years to imprison journalists, political dissidents and other activists.
Last year, Reporters Without Borders ranked Myanmar as the world's sixth worst violator of media freedom, after Eritrea, North Korea, Turkmenistan, Iran, and Cuba.
Despite the hazards, many local journalists have braved the cyclone story. Some rushed to the delta immediately after the disaster and ferried back video footage to international news agencies who couldn't access the area for days. Many asked for nothing in return except an outlet to tell the world what the junta was hiding.
Irrawaddy magazine has five reporters covering the cyclone, three of whom lost their houses in the storm, Aung Zaw said. Their reports are picked up by U.S.-government funded radio stations Radio Free Asia and Voice of America, which relay them back to listeners in Myanmar.
"They are all undercover. They wouldn't dare tell people they are (journalists)," the editor said. "There is a huge risk."
(Copyright ©2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

http://abclocal.go.com/wtvg/story?section=news/national_world&id=6138982

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WHO releases $350,000 to Myanmar for medical aid

Calcutta News.Net
Tuesday 13th May, 2008 (IANS)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released $350,000 from its emergency fund to meet the medical needs of tens of thousands of survivors of the devastating cyclone that ravaged Myanmar May 2.

While WHO's South-East Asia Regional Office has released the money from its regional health emergency fund, it is also monitoring outbreak of communicable disease in the wake of cyclone Nargis that has killed at least 24,000 people in Myanmar.
The money has been released for immediate health needs in the cyclone-affected areas, a statement issued here Tuesday said.
The WHO main headquarters in Geneva has already provided $50,000 for assistance, it said.
'WHO continues to work closely with the Myanmar Ministry of Health during the cyclone Nargis crisis. Our staff are distributing relief supplies in the worst affected areas,' said Samlee Plianbangchang, WHO regional director for South-East Asia.
Additional funding is being mobilized through the UN flash appeal. 'WHO is leading the Health Cluster comprising 22 international NGOs and other UN agencies to respond to the emergency,' the statement said.
The deadly cyclone, which originated in the Bay of Bengal, hit Yangon, Bago, Irrawaddy, Kayin and Mon divisions.
After the devastation, diarrhoea and dysentery cases have been reported, but so far no cholera cases have been confirmed.
'Immediate efforts are focussed on ensuring care and treatment to the injured population and preventing communicable diseases such as diarrhoea, other waterborne diseases, acute respiratory infections, measles and dengue,' WHO said.
WHO staff are operating in Myanmar to help provide essential health care.
'Eight international emergency health kits containing essential medical supplies have arrived in Yangon and have immediately been delivered to the affected areas. Each kit can treat 10,000 people for a period of three months,' said Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO deputy regional director for South-East Asia.
Eric Laroche, WHO's assistant director-general for Health Action in Crisis, said: 'WHO is leading the health cluster collaborating closely with the Myanmar Ministry of Health to meet the immediate health needs of the tens of thousands affected by the cyclone and to re-establish a public health system.'
The organisation has also provided supplies containing bleaching powder and chlorine tablets for water treatment, antibiotics, saline solutions and oral rehydration salts to prevent and control diarrhoeal and other waterborne diseases.
They have also dispatched 30,000 surgical masks, 30,000 gloves and body bags to Bogale and Labutta, in Irrawaddy division, for the collection of dead bodies.
Also, they have mobilized the delivery of insecticide-treated bed nets to ward off malaria and provided guidelines for accepting donations of essential medicines.
Sixteen WHO national surveillance officers have been deployed to the affected areas in Irrawaddy and Yangon divisions to assist authorities in disease surveillance, response and monitoring and also to assist them in distribution of medical supplies and other health logistics.


http://www.calcuttanews.net/story/358836

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Considering a humanitarian invasion of Myanmar

What happened
The military government of Burma, also called Myanmar, has slowly started to accept international aid for the victims of Cyclone Nargis, allowing the first U.S. military aid plane to land Monday. But the ruling junta continues to tell the United Nations, foreign governments, and international aid organizations that only the Burmese military will be allowed to distribute the aid. (BBC News) The junta raised its official death toll from the disaster to 32,000, but aid workers said the real number of dead could be as high as 200,000, with more deaths imminent unless more aid is allowed in. The U.S. military said it will have three naval ships with helicopters at the ready off the coast of Burma by Wednesday, in case the junta changes its mind. (The Washington Post, free registration)

What the commentators said
With about a million Burmese at risk, said Romesh Ratnesar in Time.com, the death toll could "within days, approach that of the entire number of civilians killed in the genocide in Darfur." And what is the world doing to help? "Not much." A regime as "insular and paranoid" as Burma's isn't going to allow the "robust" foreign relief effort needed to save its own citizens, and the junta hasn't shown the "ability or willingness" to take care of the crisis by itself. The world has shown a "limitless" amount of mercy for the victims, but since mercy is not proving enough, "it's time to consider a more serious option: invading Burma."

"Hell no, it's not time to invade Burma," said James Joyner in the blog Outside the Beltway. "Are you friggin' kidding me?" It isn't necessary to care what the Burmese junta wants to see that "coercive humanitarian intervention" is a bad idea. A more reasonable plan would be just to ignore the junta and drop relief supplies for the Burmese people.

It's "hard to see" how air drops would "benefit people on the ground," said David Aaronovitch in The Times of London. The junta somehow found the "necessary manpower to police a rigged constitutional referendum" last weekend, even as its "deliberate" neglect threatened tens of thousands of cyclone victims. Governments like Burma's will always put their interests above those of their citizens, and their isolationist "craziness" will always have dangerous consequences for their people, and for us. The question isn't "whether we have the right to intervene" in such "vicious dictatorships," but "whether or not, practically, we can."

Craziness? said Anne Applebaum in Slate. Burma's ruling generals are lots of horrible things, but they "are not irrational"―at least not in "one very narrow sense." If they allow foreigners to distribute aid, arriving in "high-tech vehicles that don't exist in Burma" and giving out rice clearly marked as from foreigners, it really will threaten "the legitimacy of the regime." Natural disasters, and the reaction to them, often do have "profound political implications"―look at Hurricane Katrina. But time is running out, and we need a new "coalition of the willing" to find some "alternative ways of delivering aid," even if the junta objects.

That coalition should be the United Nations, said Ivo Daadler and Paul Stares in The Boston Globe (free registration). UN members agreed three years ago that if a government shows it "cannot or will not" protect its people, the international community has the "responsibility" to do so. France's foreign minister suggested invoking this clause to demand that Burma let supplies and aid workers in, and he was met with "deafening silence." If this "desperate situation" doesn't merit invoking the "responsibility to protect principle," nothing will, and the UN will slip faster into its "increasing irrelevance."


http://www.theweekdaily.com/news_opinion/top_stories/41538/should_we_consider_invading_myanmar.html

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Asian governments urged to pressure Myanmar

Myanmar residents watch a helicopter to land to provide relief goods at Bogalay, Myanmar

© AP Photo


13 May 2008

As hold-ups continue in the supply of foreign aid to Myanmar, Asian leaders have been urged to pressure the country's military rulers into taking swift action to address a growing humanitarian catastrophe. Amnesty International believes that by deliberately blocking life-sustaining aid, the government of Myanmar may be violating the right of the population to life, food and health.

"Time is of the essence if lives are to be saved," said Mika Kamae, chair of Amnesty International's Asia Pacific Forum in Hong Kong.

Myanmar's government claims that it needs no help in efficiently providing and distributing food and aid to victims, but UN agencies, independent observers, and international and local humanitarian workers speak with growing urgency of deteriorating conditions for hundreds of thousands of people displaced by Cyclone Nargis.

Myanmar's government has not facilitated visas to expert aid workers. This is in stark contrast to the behaviour of fellow-ASEAN member Indonesia, which responded to the 2004 tsunami by cooperating with international efforts (including the US and other militaries).

Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific directors have called on the region's governments to increase the pressure on the Myanmar authorities to receive and support massive international assistance required to protect the rights to life, food and health of the victims of Cyclone Nargis.

"The ASEAN countries, Japan, India, South Korea and China are best placed to influence the Myanmar authorities to lift the blockages and allow aid, expertise and materials to reach the millions now in need," Kamae said.

It is now over a week since Cyclone Nargis devastated the Irrawaddy delta, killing tens of thousands and leaving over a million homeless, without essential food, shelter or healthcare and in need of instant relief assistance. The UN estimates that the number of affected people is between 1,200,000 and 1,900,000.

The official death toll has climbed to almost 32,000. However, as international relief agencies on the ground are reaching further into the devastated areas, the enormity of the crisis is becoming clearer. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Saturday the number of deaths could range from 63,000 to 100,000, and that 220,000 people are reported missing.

A UN flash appeal has attracted millions in government donations, and many disaster relief agencies are assembled on standby in Thailand. However, the Myanmar government is still impeding such life-saving assistance. It is slowing distribution and not waiving visa requirements, or else urgently issuing visas to foreign aid workers, including those from three international agencies it has approached for assistance; World Vision, JICA and UNICEF. Myanmar even observed a full 3-day holiday in its embassies while experts waited for visas.

Instead, in a briefing on 11 May, the Minister for National Planning and Economic Development U Soe Tha maintained that international relief workers were not required. He claimed: "Aids from any nations are accepted and delivery of relief goods can be handled by local organisations," according to state-run newspaper New Light of Myanmar.

"The Myanmar authorities must also give complete priority to mobilizing their own resources for disaster response. Instead, considerable government resources were tied up conducting Saturday's constitutional referendum, even in close proximity to the devastation. There can be no clearer message to the destitute about the priorities of those in power," said Milabel Cristobal, Director of the Amnesty International Hong Kong section.

Children are particularly vulnerable to the after effects of natural disasters, as they are prey to malnutrition and communicable diseases. Myanmar's failure to provide adequate aid to thousands of children could result in many preventable deaths. As a state party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Myanmar authorities also have legal obligations to uphold their rights to life, adequate food and health "to the maximum extent of their available resources, and where needed within the framework of international co-operation".


http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/asian-governments-urged-pressure-myanmar-20080513

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