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“Save Myanmar”

Posted May. 10, 2008 03:01,   


Myanmar now is nothing else than a land of destruction and calamity brought about by nature. In the country’s hardest-hit region, there are still bodies left floating in the water. Cows, pigs and other animals that were wiped in the flood are also left rotting mingled among wastes.

Unable to find themselves tents, refugees gather under temporary shelters made out of vinyl to avoid the rain. Some residents choose to eat drowned pigs due to the lack of food.

On the other hand, the situation in Yangon is improving gradually, because the military junta set out to restore the parts that are exposed to the outer world first, fearing the provocation of the popular mind.

Though trees fallen by the storm and destroyed houses still lie about here and there in the city, restoration process has started in the major parts of Yangon. Schools and public facilities also began to be restored right after the cyclone passed.

On Friday, the supply of electricity was resumed after having been cut for several days, and the telephone line was reconnected. But the supply of drinking water and tab water is not back on track yet.

In particular, the amount of resources critical for the refugees, such as the medical service or medicines, falls short far behind the demand. Myanmar has suffered the lack of medical facilities since the 1990s. It is not difficult to imagine how serious the current situation is with the rapidly increasing number of injured people.

At the current rate, the capital region will see considerable progress in restoration in two or three months. However, in regions left neglected by the junta, the situation is likely to worsen as time passes.

In the hardest-hit Irrawaddy River delta region, roads, bridges and other infrastructure are all destroyed, making access to the region very difficult. Residents isolated in such regions need to be rescued with helicopters or high performance boats.

Myanmarese people expect foreign governments, including those of Korea and the United States, and neighboring countries such as Thailand to take strong actions. Their expectations have been elevated when the news spread that the United Nations is considering to drop food from aircrafts unquestioning the permission by the military junta.

While residents in provinces are desperately in need of help, they also fear frequent visits by military personnel or local volunteers due to distrust of the junta. Residents doubt that the visitors are mobilized not for the restoration of the regions but for surveillance.

They want this disaster to trigger the military junta to lose power, and hope that foreign governments and international organizations will exercise strong influence. In many affected regions, refugees speak out against Myanmar`s military ruler, Than Shwe, comparing him with Roman Emperor Nero.

The military junta is well aware of the situation, and fears that this disaster will deprive itself of the basis of power. That is why it does not open itself to foreign aid.