Thursday, May 22, 2008

Face of tragedy in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis

While various reports have emerged on the situation in the Irrawaddy delta and Rangoon division, the true extent of devastation and human loss still remains unconfirmed as the government continues to impose restrictions on entry into the region.

Several reports of the terrible hardships of refugees and cyclone victims have come in from the few aid workers, who were allowed by the government to go in and from local and international media persons, who sneaked into the region.

--Read More: here

Apprehension of UN chief being misled by junta

New Delhi – Though a lot is expected from the UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon's visit to Burma, local aid workers apprehend the world body chief might be taken for a ride by Burma's military rulers.

Local aid workers said cyclone victims and refugees, flocking on the road waiting for relief materials to arrive, have been driven away as a preparation for the visit of the world body chief.

Mr. Ban Ki-moon arrived in Rangoon on Thursday and left for the cyclone hit-area in the Irrawaddy delta after holding meetings with the Burmese Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister.

--Read More: here

Junta Offers Showcase Camps, but Most Burmese Lack Aid

The 68 blue tents are lined up in a row, with a brand-new water purifier and boxes of relief supplies, stacked neatly but as yet undelivered and not even opened. “If you don’t keep clean, you’ll be expelled from here,” a camp manager barked at families in some tents.

The moment, at what has been billed as a model camp for survivors of Cyclone Nargis, captured a common complaint among refugees and aid volunteers: that the military junta that rules Myanmar cares more about the appearance of providing aid than actually providing it.

--Read More: here

Myanmar Leaders Tell UN Junta Can Handle Cyclone Aid Relief

General Thein Sein, the junta's prime minister, told Ban yesterday he ``believed the relief phase was over and it was now time for reconstruction,'' the UN said in a statement.

Ban yesterday flew over the flooded Irrawaddy River delta that was decimated by the May 2-3 cyclone and met some of the survivors. He will press the junta again to allow international relief workers into the area when he meets with its leader, Senior General Than Shwe, today in the capital, Naypyidaw.

--Read More: here

General Assembly President calls for new culture of international relations, with principle of human security at its core, during day-long debate

‘It is my personal view that we need a new culture of international relations –- with the precept of human security at its core,’ declared President Kerim, adding that such a culture, though intrinsically embedded in the ideals of the United Nations, had never truly been enacted in practice. Yet, with our insecurities becoming more interconnected by the day, there was an urgent need to bring people, policies and institutions together in a far more effective and less fragmented way.

--Read More: here

UN chief flies to meet Myanmar's key decision maker after touring cyclone-hit delta

The storm's destruction was more obvious from the air.

The two helicopters carrying Ban's party flew over seemingly endless fields that had been flooded, villages with destroyed houses, rivers swollen past their banks, people huddled on rooftops, in tent villages or taking to boats.

U.N. officials traveling with Ban said they were discussing with Chinese authorities whether Ban could tour the earthquake zone in Sichuan directly after leaving Myanmar. The officials requested anonymity, citing protocol.

--Read More: here

UN chief tours cyclone-hit Burma

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon flew into Burma's disaster zone today as he pressed the country's leaders to open the doors to critical international aid for some 2.5 million cyclone survivors.

In a meeting with Prime Minister Thein Sein, Ban stressed that international aid experts needed to be rushed in because the crisis had exceeded Burma's national capacity, according to a UN official at the talks.

--Read More: here

Europe tries threats to open Burma (Myanmar) to aid

Leaders hope their charges of a crime against humanity will push the junta to expand relief efforts.

European leaders have accused Burma (Myanmar) of a crime against humanity for its stubborn response to cyclone aid relief, in a tactic to pressure the regime and save lives.

--Read More: here