Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Burma URGENTLY Needs Humanitarian Aid

From: John Thang <johnthang99@gmail.com>
Date: May 5, 2008 10:06 PM
Subject: [2007GAHRFS] Burma URGENTLY Needs Humanitarian Aid
To: 2007GAHRFS@yahoogroups.com

Burma URGENTLY Needs Humanitarian Aid

The worst humanitarian crisis ever in Burma's recent history, in the form of a mega powerful cyclone, has struck already poor and debilitating people under a despotic military regime into an utter devastation.

(See photos on http://burmadigest.info/2008/05/05/photo-burma-devastated-by-storm/ to get a sense of how massive the devastation is)

The ruling military generals who never care about the sufferings of their own people is in no way ready to tackle such a massive humanitarian disaster. Even if they do care, the current crisis is clearly beyond their capabilities to deal with by themselves alone.

In fact, Burma, as a country which is downright poor but usually tranquil and safe from natural disasters, is never really prepared for such super disasters which came out of the blue and hit hard and destroyed the three quarter of the entire southern half of the country.

Estimates said hundreds to thousands of people are already dead. The death toll is likely to climb as the authorities make contact with hard-hit islands and villages in remote areas.

Three out of every four homes in Irrawaddy delta region are totally destroyed. Hundreds of thousands to millions of people are homeless, and those who still have a home no longer have roofs above their heads because all the roofs have been blown away by the storm.

Many towns and villages are still under water. Many roads and rails are either flooded or blocked by storm debris. Many bridges have collapsed.
People all across these vast storm-devastated areas are trying to survive with no electricity (which is off and on even at the best of times) and no clean water. Petrol stations are also running out of supply. Many shops and food stores are destroyed. Many hospitals and clinics are also destroyed. People are now with no electricity, no petrol, no water, no food and no medical supplies.

The flood waters have brought in and are spreading water-born infectious diseases while hospitals are either destroyed or with scant medical supplies.

The people are saying that they have never seen anything like this massive disaster ever before.

With so many roads still blocked or flooded, and with all phone-lines cut-down by fallen trees, the government cannot even yet get the exact estimates of how massive the devastation is.

Humanitarian aid organization, such as the Red Cross, who are already on the ground have started their relief operations, but rescue workers have yet to reach some of the worst-hit areas of the country.

Military government has declared five regions in Southern Burma as disaster zones. And the UN and international aid agencies meet on Monday (05.05.2008) morning in Bangkok, Thailand, to co-ordinate their rescue and relief efforts. And Thai government has already sent a plane load of food and supplies to Rangoon.

Usually, the ruling military generals in Burma are very paranoid about foreign intervention in domestic affairs. And, on the other hand, the international organizations who very well know about the generals' habit of mis-use of public funds, corruption, bribery and ineptitude have some mistrust on the generals. And because of the generals' notoriety for brutality and human rights abuses, international governments are usually reluctant to be seen as giving a helping hand to the generals. And many influential political dissidents in exile, who want to see the military regime choked under international sanctions, are not usually keen on international aid to Burma.

But with millions of people in an absolute crisis under an unprecedented immense devastation and disaster, ALL parties need to work together for an effective and immediate delivery of the required relief operation of an enormous scale.


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