Friday, May 09, 2008

Myanmar aid shipments confiscated

I don't usually get all political on this blog, but headlines like this really piss you off:

UN halts aid to Myanmar after junta seizes supplies

Myanmar's junta seized U.N. aid shipments headed for hungry and homeless survivors of last week's devastating cyclone, prompting the world body to suspend further help on Friday.

The U.N. said the aid included 38 tons of high-energy biscuits and arrived in Myanmar on Friday on two flights from Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates.

"All of the food aid and equipment that we managed to get in has been confiscated," U.N. World Food Program spokesman Paul Risley said. "For the time being, we have no choice but to end further efforts to bring critical needed food aid into Myanmar at this time."

Since the original story was posted a little over an hour ago, Myanmar's government has acknowledged taking control of the shipments, but claims plans to distribute the aid "without delay by its own labor to the affected areas." Since the cyclone that devasted the area a week ago, relief organizations from around the world have stepped forward to offer aid, only to be turned away at the door. Meanwhile, hundreds more have died due to injury, with thousands more expected to succumb to disease, exposure to the elements, and starvation. If they truly want to save their people, the junta needs to get over their fears of the outside world and let the aid workers in. Trained doctors and health officials can do a hell of a lot more for the country than a militia trained to kill first and ask questions later.

The confiscation of matierlas raises a lot of questions, such as how we know people in the areas worst affected will get the aid they need. What is preventing the junta from killing the sick and injured instead of attending to their needs? How much food is being left to spoil at docks and airports because the junta won't let it off ships or planes? What other reasons could there be for refusing to let humanitarian organizers into affected areas? What is the junta trying to hide? And what will be left of Myanmar if they continue to refuse help from countries much more capable of providing the sort of aid needed in the face of such devastation?

What really ticks you off is the knowledge that these people begging for help are being led to believe that the rest of the world has abandoned them when, in fact, it is their own government that has failed them. It is incidents such as this that really make you angry!

1 comment:

Annalee Blysse said...

I get a bit irritated with things like this too. A reminder that there is true evil alive and well in the hearts of man. That governement wants more people to die so they can maintain control?