« | »

Burmese Pass Out Relief Aid In Junta’s Name

From a suddenly righteously indignant Associated Press:

Myanmar junta hands out aid boxes with generals’ names

YANGON, Myanmar – Myanmar’s military regime distributed international aid Saturday but plastered the boxes with the names of top generals in an apparent effort to turn the relief effort for last week’s devastating cyclone into a propaganda exercise.

The United Nations sent in three more planes and several trucks loaded with aid, though the junta took over its first two shipments. The government agreed to let a U.S. cargo plane bring in supplies Monday, but foreign disaster experts still were being barred entry.

Despite international appeals to postpone a referendum on a controversial proposed constitution, voting began Saturday in all but the hardest hit parts of the country. With voters going to the polls, state-run television continuously ran images of top generals including junta leader, Senior Gen. Than Shwe, handing out boxes of aid at elaborate ceremonies.

“We have already seen regional commanders putting their names on the side of aid shipments from Asia, saying this was a gift from them and then distributing it in their region,” said Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, which campaigns for human rights and democracy in the country.

“It is not going to areas where it is most in need,” he said in London….

The junta has refused to grant access to foreign experts, saying it will only accept donations from foreign charities and governments, and then will deliver the aid on its own.

Despite such obstacles, the U.N. refugee agency sent its first aid convoy by land into Myanmar on Saturday and began airlifting a 110 tons of shelter supplies from its warehouse in Dubai, it said…

A total of 23 international agencies were providing aid to people in the devastated areas, said Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

But a large number of organizations still were awaiting government clearance for more aid shipments, staff and transport.

“It’s a race against the clock,” Byrs said. “If the humanitarian aid does not get into the country on a larger scale, there’s the risk of a second catastrophe,” she said, adding that people could die from hunger and diseases.

Health experts have warned there was a great risk of diarrhea and cholera spreading because of the lack of clean drinking water and sanitation.

Farmaner suggested that aid be delivered to the country, also known as Burma, even if the regime does not give its permission.

“We have had a week to convince the regime to behave reasonably, and they are still blocking aid,” he said. “So the international community needs to wake up and take bolder steps.”

However, aid providers are unlikely to pursue unilateral deliveries like airdrops because of the diplomatic firestorm that it could set off…

The government seized two planeloads of high-energy biscuits — enough to feed 95,000 people — sent by the U.N. World Food Program. Despite the seizure, the WFP was sending three more planes Saturday from Dubai, Cambodia and Italy, even though those could be confiscated, too…

Pretty shocking, eh?

Except that it has gone on for years. (Episodes with CARE being some of the more notorious.)

And of course the United Nations does this very same thing as a matter of course.

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, May 10th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Burmese Pass Out Relief Aid In Junta’s Name”

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.

« Front Page | To Top
« | »