Myanmar cyclone forgotten

It’s disaster after disaster really.

Bloated bodies litter Myanmar, forgotten after the cyclone

ON THE PYAPON RIVER, Myanmar, May 12 — As the bloated bodies rise and fall with the current, women scrub clothes along the river bank, villagers bathe to cool themselves and a lone child sits on a dock staring aimlessly into the water.

But with little aid getting through to desperate cyclone survivors, the dead have largely been forgotten — left to decay where the brackish waters carried them or waiting to be pulled out to sea by the rising tides.

“The first few we saw, we were all very shocked,” said U Pinyatale, a monk from the area who has prayed for the dead. “After a while, there were just too many.”

More than 50 bodies can be spotted in just three hours on the river. Many have turned white as they float entwined in mangrove trees, where they remain lodged. The smell of dead fish permeates the humid air as dozens of small boats ferrying roofing supplies and rice navigate around the corpses, but no one seems to notice.

“In some areas there are 5,000 bodies in waterways, stuck in fields and in the trees,” said Craig Strathern, spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city. “We’ve got a combination of seriously traumatised people themselves who are concentrating on their basic survival.”

Cyclone Nargis left nearly 62,000 people dead or missing. The UN estimates at least 1.5 million have been severely affected in the military-run country, with many of them still struggling to receive rations of food and clean water.

Full article here.

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Could it be that the Myanmar junta is still unwilling to accept foreign aid? If these dead bodies are allowed to just float around, and nothing is being done to stop the rotting, soon the affected areas in Myanmar will become dead cities. They already are in a sense, but surely the step of cleaning up is necessary. In fact, it’s absolutely crucial that this is done as it concerns the health conditions of those still alive.

Should the bodies continue to rot and pollute whatever water they have, it’s going to kill even more people. Already 62,000 are dead.

I went to the StarOnline to see if they had anything on the Myanmar tragedy. Unfortunately, it seems like this disaster has been forgotten, especially since another huge disaster killed almost 10,000 people in China yesterday.

CHENGDU, May 13 — A powerful earthquake toppled buildings, schools and chemical plants yesterday in central China, killing nearly 10,000 people and trapping untold numbers in mounds of concrete, steel and earth in the country’s worst quake in three decades.

The 7.9-magnitude quake devastated a region of small cities and towns set amid steep hills north of Sichuan’s provincial capital of Chengdu. Striking in midafternoon, it emptied office buildings across the country and could be felt as far away as Vietnam.

Xinhua reported 8,533 people died in Sichuan alone and 216 others in three other provinces and the mega-city of Chongqing.

Worst affected were four counties including the quake’s epicentre in Wenchuan, 60 miles northwest of Chengdu. Landslides left roads impassable today, causing the government to order soldiers into the area on foot, state television said, and heavy rain prevented four military helicopters from landing.

Wenchuan’s Communist Party secretary appealed for air drops of tents, food and medicine. “We also need medical workers to save the injured people here,” Xinhua quoted Wang Bin as telling other officials who reached him by phone.

Full article here.
The StarOnline also has some news reports on this disaster here.

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And this is happening so close to the Beijing Olympics too.

My dad has one comment on all this: “Life is just so fragile.”



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