32,000 Dead & Another Cyclone Is Forming Off Burma
Another cyclone is forming in Burma and the country is still suffering from the previous one that struck on May 2-3.
Burma4U posted video (Here) today from one of the remote villages in Burma showing the horrible death and destruction.
You can tell from the video (Warning on content) that whole communities were killed from the cyclone.
It should be noted that without the video produced by the bloggers and democracy activists in Burma much of this carnage would be hidden from the world. (Burma4U)
The Democratic Voice of Burma also has several video clips and photos of the cyclone devastation.
American aid has started to reach Burma in the last couple of days.
Voice of America reported:
Three U.S. Air Force C-130 transport planes landed in Rangoon on May 12 and 13 carrying water, mosquito nets, plastic sheeting, and blankets from an air base in Thailand.
Burma’s military junta has been reluctant to allow foreign assistance into the country since the devastation of Cyclone Nargis. But the need of the Burmese is overwhelming. According to Burmese state television reports, approximately thirty-two thousand people have been killed, and at least thirty-three thousand people remain missing, although aid organizations are reporting as many as sixty-three thousand to one-hundred thousand fatalities. According to the United Nations, approximately one-and-a-half million people have been affected.
The United States is prepared to do all it can to ease the suffering of the Burmese people. U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Henrietta Fore said the U.S. agency has allocated sixteen-million-two-hundred-fifty-thousand dollars in assistance. According to the United Nations Office of the Coordinator for Humanitarian Assistance, the most urgent needs are plastic sheeting for emergency shelter, clean water, cooking sets, mosquito nets, emergency health kits, food, and fuel supplies.
There are fears that the survivors will be moved to forced labor camps by the brutal junta.
So it was last week. The US stood ready to help the cyclone-ravaged Burmese people. It did not matter that Burma’s ruling junta was no friend of the Americans. With more than 100,000 people feared dead and many more hundreds of thousands left destitute, US Air Force cargo planes loaded with supplies and personnel started arriving in nearby Thailand to begin humanitarian operations in Burma.
A US Navy strike group in the Gulf of Thailand sent helicopters ashore, ready to arrive in Burma within hours. Alas, Burma’s military leaders left their people to die for 10 days before finally accepting help from the evil empire. Even if the Yanks are allowed to boost their assistance to Burma, they can expect a groundswell of criticism.
Back in 2004, the Americans – along with the Australians – arrived within hours to help the hundreds of thousands of people left devastated by the Boxing Day tsunami in Asia. A US carrier group steamed towards Indonesia’s Aceh province. A second US Marine Corps strike force made its way to Sri Lanka with water, food and medical supplies.
The Pentagon spent millions of dollars sending C-130 transport planes from Dubai to Indonesia with tents, blankets, food and water. A navy chief in charge of co-ordination efforts said the US would deliver “as much help as soon as we can, as long as we’re needed”.
The resentment that comes from needing the military and economic might of the US translated into the most absurd criticism. Jan Egeland, the former UN boss of humanitarian affairs, cavilled about the stinginess of certain Western nations. His eye was on the US. Former British minister Claire Short was equally miffed, describing the initiative by the US and other countries as “yet another attempt to undermine the UN”, which was, according to her, the “only body that has the moral authority” to help.
I love moral authority as much as the next guy, but the UN’s moral authority is a mighty hard sell given that the UN club includes the most odious regimes in the world, such as Burma. And notice how the UN’s moral authority did not quickly translate into helicopters laden with food and water?
** Burma’s excellent blogger Ko Htike has several photos from inside the junta.
** To donate to the people of Burma go HERE. **