Monday, May 19, 2008

[BurmaSolidarity] India sends medicines, army medical personnel to Myanmar

from: Salong
date: Sat, May 17, 2008 at 10:12 PM
subject: [BurmaSolidarity] India sends medicines, army medical personnel to Myanmar

News Headlines

1. India sends medicines, army medical personnel to Myanmar

2. French navy ship nears Myanmar, still awaiting permission to land

Myanmar death toll soars, diplomats tour delta

4. Myanmar Rulers Slowing Cyclone Aid Efforts

5. Myanmar: Opposition Party Rejects the Referendum


7. Over 133,000 people dead or missing in Myanmar; Int'l pressure on junta intensifies

8. Myanmar gives Thai, Indian doctors permission to enter cyclone-ravaged country


India sends medicines, army medical personnel to Myanmar

New Delhi (PTI): Responding to a request by the Myanmarese authorities, India on Saturday sent a team of 50 army medical personnel and a fresh planeload of medicines to the cyclone-battered country.

An IAF IL-76 medium-haul transport aircraft left here for Yangon carrying a 50-member Indian army medical team to carry out relief work in the worst-affected Irrawady valley, officials said here.

The team comprising doctors and paramedics is carrying six tonnes of medicines and surgical equipment to treat patients in the affected areas, they said.

India is only the second country after Thailand to despatch army medical teams to Myanmar since cyclone Nargis struck the southwest delta region of the country. New Delhi's response came after the Myanmar military junta sent in an SOS on Tuesday, sources said.

India has already sent over 12 tonnes of relief material comprising tents, blankets, medicines, water purifiers and other items to Myanmar.

"The Myanmar government will decide where to station the medical teams and provide transport for them," an official source said.

Sources said the army medical personnel are carrying generators, water purifiers and tents to set up medical centres.


French navy ship nears Myanmar, still awaiting permission to land

Associated Press - May 17, 2008 6:33 AM

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) - Two weeks after Myanmar was clobbered by a catastrophic cyclone, the nation's military rulers are slowing international efforts to help its people.

A French naval ship off the coast is awaiting permission to deliver 1,500 tons of aid. France wants to deliver the supplies directly to the cyclone victims and not hand it over to the government.

Thailand said today it's being allowed to send in a team of health workers. The group of about 30 doctors, nurses and health experts should be reaching camps and remote villages in a matter of days. Myanmar's rulers have also cleared an Indian medical team to come in, but it's not clear when.

By the government's own count, the May 3rd cyclone killed 78,000 people. But international aid groups say the toll is probably about 128,000. And they say many more people will die from disease and starvation unless help arrives quickly for the estimated 2.5 million suffering survivors.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed
Myanmar death toll soars, diplomats tour delta

Aung Hla Tun, Reuters

Published: 2 hours ago

YANGON -- Myanmar's junta took diplomats on a tour of the storm-ravaged Irrawaddy delta on Saturday as its toll of dead and missing soared above 133,000 people, making Cyclone Nargis one of the most devastating ever to hit Asia.

In the last 50 years, only two Asian cyclones have exceeded Nargis in terms of human cost -- a 1970 storm that killed 500,000 people in neighboring Bangladesh, and another that killed 143,000 in 1991, also in Bangladesh.

However, with an estimated 2.5 million people clinging to survival in the delta, and the military government refusing to admit large-scale outside relief, disaster experts say Nargis' body count could yet rise dramatically.

A boy watches as a man builds a shelter in a village hit by Cyclone Nargis, near the Myanmar capital Yangon, May 16, 2008. REUTERS/StringerView Larger Image Larger Image

A boy watches as a man builds a shelter in a village hit by Cyclone Nargis, near the Myanmar capital Yangon, May 16, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer

British officials say the actual toll may already be more than 200,000.

Cases of cholera, endemic to much of the former Burma, have been found although the outbreaks are no more than would normally be seen at this time of year, health officials said.

Meanwhile, the military, which has ruled unchecked for the last 46 years, continues to insist it is capable of handling aid distribution, seemingly out of fear an influx of foreigners might loosen its vice-like grip on power.

With heavy tropical downpours continuing to hamper the aid effort on Saturday, the generals took Yangon-based diplomats into the delta to see the army's relief operations, although it was expected to be a stage-managed and highly sanitized trip.

One envoy who went on a similar tour of a storm-hit district of Yangon, the former capital, described the neat rows of tents on display as "happy camps."

In the delta, the junta will have to work much harder to keep the diplomats away from the destitute.

Near the town of Kunyangon this week, columns of men, women and children stretched for miles alongside the road, begging in the mud and rain for scraps of food or clothing from the occasional passing aid vehicle.

"The situation has worsened in just two days," one aid volunteer said as children mobbed his vehicle, their grimy hands reaching through the window for something to eat.

Many storm refugees are crammed into monasteries and schools and are being fed and watered by local volunteers and private donors who have taken matters into their own hands, sending in trucks laden with clothes, biscuits, dried noodles and rice.


In a rare sign of agreement with international aid agencies, the junta sharply raised its toll from the May 2 disaster on Friday night to 77,738 dead and another 55,917 missing.

The news came on state TV, which aside from offering updated casualty figures has mainly shown footage of generals handing out food at the model tented villages.

People in Myanmar are snapping up bootleg video discs of bloated corpses, desperate refugees and ravaged villages to get a fuller picture of the situation.

"Myanmar television is useless," said one Yangon businessman who bought the underground VCDs because he wanted to see the raw, uncensored version of the storm that killed his brother in Labutta, one of the hardest-hit towns in the Irrawaddy delta.

The generals have been admitting a steady stream of aid flights to Yangon, including around four a day from the U.S. military, the generals' arch enemy.

However, aid agencies say only a fraction of the required relief is getting through to the inundated part of the delta -- a stretch of land the size of Austria -- and unless the situation improves, thousands more lives are at risk.

Given the junta's ban on foreign journalists and restrictions on the movement of most international aid workers, independent assessment of the situation is difficult.

With international concern and frustration mounting, a parade of envoys has been flying in to try to coax the generals out of their deep distrust of the outside world.

The latest is the U.N.' top humanitarian official, John Holmes, expected to arrive in Yangon on Sunday and meet Prime Minister Thein Sein, the fourth-highest ranking junta member.


Holmes will be carrying a third letter from U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to junta supremo Than Shwe, who has repeatedly ignored Ban's requests for a conversation, a spokeswoman said.

Ban is not the only one loosing patience.

France's U.N. ambassador said the junta was on the verge of a "crime against humanity," and dismissed claims by his Myanmar counterpart Paris was sending a warship to sit off the coast.

French envoy Jean-Maurice Ripert said the ship, Le Mistral, was operated by the French navy but was not a warship. It is carrying 1,500 tonnes of food and medicine as well as small boats, helicopters and field hospital platforms.

Three U.S. Navy vessels are already hovering off the coast ready to go in with relief supplies, but the Pentagon insists it will not do so until it gets the go-ahead from the Myanmar authorities.

(Writing by Ed Cropley and Jerry Norton; Editing by David Fox)

(For more stories on Myanmar cyclone or follow the link to Reuters AlertNet http:/


Myanmar: Opposition Party Rejects the Referendum

17 May 2008 10:35:00

Sources: ANA, MNA

Burma's military government has rejected Thursday's referendum on a new constitution, according to which 29% of voters approved it.

"The result is absolutely fake. They forced people to say "yes" and did not allow voting to be secret, Ms Suu Kyi, who leads the opposition National League for Democracy, stated.

The junta insisted on the process of the referendum in most areas of the country except of the southern areas which were ravaged by the disastrous cyclone Nargis which resulted in 133.000 deaths and many missing people.

Voting will be conducted in Rangoon and Irrawaddi which have been afflicted by the cyclone, on May 24. According to UN information, the humanitarian crisis involves 2 million people.

Ms. Suu Kyi's party denounced that the results of the voting were announced illegally before the voting was completed in all areas of the country.

National League for Democracy is opposing the new Constitution and accuses the junta that it insists on imposing the referendum despite the humanitarian crisis that broke out in the country.



According to some news reports more than a 100,000 people in Myanmar have perished as a result of Cyclone Nargis. This is a mammoth tragedy. It is perhaps one of the worst natural calamities that has occurred in the region in recent years.

When tragedies like this occur, JUST often appeals to its members to respond. We hope that members will donate generously to anyone of the funds that has been set up for this purpose. The Star is running a Myanmar Relief Fund. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has its Tabung Bencana Kementerian Luar Negeri. The particulars are in our local newspapers.

Please do not send any money or cheque or any other form of donation to the JUST office. We do not have the resources to manage efforts of this sort. This is just an appeal.

We are confident that JUST members and their families will respond to this terrible tragedy in a manner that befits their humanitarian instincts.

Thank you very much.


Chandra Muzaffar,

On behalf of the JUST Executive Committee


Over 133,000 people dead or missing in Myanmar; Int'l pressure on junta intensifies

By Anita Ramaswamy
Font Scale:
Posted 17 May 2008 @ 05:11 pm GMT
  • The military government in Myanmar said, Friday, at least 133,000 people were dead or missing after cyclone Nargis flattened the country's rice-growing south region, leaving it in ruins.

A homeless Myanmar girl salvages some items from their cyclone-ravaged house at the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar on Saturday May 17, 2008
A homeless Myanmar girl salvages some items from their cyclone-ravaged house at the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar on Saturday May 17, 2008. International relief organizations said that tens of thousands of people in Myanmar may die from disease and st...
A Swiss Red Cross worker prepares humanitarian goods for Myanmar in Bern May 14, 2008
A Swiss Red Cross worker prepares humanitarian goods for Myanmar in Bern May 14, 2008. The International Red Cross launched an emergency appeal on Friday for $50.8 million for the devastated region. (Reuters Photo)

The government claims the cyclone left 77,738 dead and 55,917 missing, but given the military junta's nature of secrecy and control over the media, the international community suspects the actual figure could be much higher.

In fact, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies estimated Wednesday that the total death toll might be between 68,833 and 127,990. The United Nations (UN) has said more than 100,000 may have died.

While the Red Cross launched an emergency appeal Friday for $50.8 million for the devastated region, the UN said it was organizing an emergency summit in Asia to coordinate global efforts in rushing aid to cyclone victims in Myanmar.

The UN and the Red Cross said 1.6-2.5 million people are in urgent need of aid, including food, water, blankets, mosquito nets, tarpaulins, medicines and tents and if the aid is not reached on time, epidemic of gigantic proportion may break out. Already relief officials in Burma are saying water-borne diseases like cholera have broken out and other diseases like malaria, dengue, typhoid, diarrhea, dysentery, tuberculosis and skin infections may add to the death toll due to lack of sufficient medical aid.

Many fear than children and women in crowded relief camps will become vulnerable to prostitution and human trafficking unless proper measures are taken.

UNICEF said 3,000 schools were wiped out by the cyclone, leaving 500,000 children without classrooms and at least two suspected traffickers have been arrested for trying to recruit children at a campsite.

Media reports also claim that local military units in Myanmar are waylaying trucks of food, blankets and water, leading to the junta issuing an edict in state-run newspapers on Friday saying legal action would be taken against anybody found hoarding or selling relief supplies.

Despite the appalling condition of the cyclone survivors and incessant rainfall in Irrawaddy Delta region making relief efforts more difficult, the military junta in Myanmar has refused to open its borders immediately to allow foreign experts to direct relief efforts despite the rising death toll and till now, most foreign aid is only getting into the country in small quantities.

Concerned that inaccessibility to necessary relief may claim over half a million lives, France, Great Britain, Germany and Denmark are convinced that the international community must help the victims of the cyclone, even if they have to do so without the permission of the country's ruling military government.


Myanmar gives Thai, Indian doctors permission to enter cyclone-ravaged country

By MARGIE MASON,AP Medical Writer AP - 17 minutes agoBANGKOK, Thailand - A team of Thai health workers has been granted permission from Myanmar's military government to help cyclone victims in areas that have been off limits to most foreigners, raising hopes that others may soon be allowed into the secretive country.


About 30 doctors, nurses and other medical experts are expected to travel to the devastated Irrawaddy delta in the coming days to treat victims living in camps or remote villages, said Dr. Surachet Satitniramai, director of Thailand's National Medical Emergency Services Institute.

Myanmar health officials insisted on civilian doctors _ no military health workers _ from Thailand and said the group would not be given access to hospitals already staffed by local physicians, he said.

"The team's mission is very important," Surachet said. "If we can gain trust from the Myanmar government, I think they will open up more to outside aid."

A group of 50 Indian military doctors and paramedics also was given approval to enter Myanmar, but it was unclear Saturday whether they would be allowed to travel from the main city of Yangon to the hard-hit delta, said Indian Air Force spokesman Wing Cmdr. Manish Gandhi.

Myanmar's paranoid military junta has been slow to accept outside aid and has granted very few visas to relief workers desperate to help. So far, no one from the World Health Organization has been permitted to enter the country, hindering data collection to the point that no accurate estimates are available of how many people have died from disease or injuries two weeks after Cyclone Nargis unleashed its fury.

"We have a challenge ahead of us," said Eric Laroche, WHO's top crisis expert in Geneva. "WHO is trying to detect as soon as possible any epidemics."

Nearly 78,000 people were killed and another 55,000 remain missing following the May 2-3 storm, according to Myanmar's state-run media. Aid groups have estimated the toll is probably closer to 128,000, with some 2.5 million survivors at risk for disease or starvation.

Many children are suffering from diarrhea, and some foreign aid agencies have reported a few cholera cases, but no major outbreaks have been reported.

The Thai team, which consists of surgeons, nurses, a pediatrician, an epidemiologist and even a veterinarian, will vaccinate survivors against cholera and treat other illnesses and injuries, Surachet said.

The team is expected to be able to treat up to 500 people a day over two weeks. After that, the Myanmar government will decide whether they will be permitted to continue.

Access to regular supplies of safe drinking water and proper sanitation is essential for preventing waterborne diseases like cholera, which spreads rapidly through water contaminated with feces. Malaria and dengue fever outbreaks also will be a major concern in the coming weeks after mosquitoes have time to breed in the stagnant water that flooded the low-lying delta region.


Mr. Salong
News Desk
Shwe Gas Movement- India

Ph: +91-9899138581

No comments: