Myanmar junta blocking out even more foreign aid

YANGON, May 17 — Myanmar’s military rulers have thrown a tightening ring of security around Yangon, blocking aid workers, foreign diplomats and journalists from reaching cyclone-battered regions where millions need food and medicine.

“A circle has been drawn around Yangon and expats are confined there. While you are getting aid through, it’s like getting it through a 3-inch pipe, not a 30-inch pipe,” said Tim Costello, president of the aid agency World Vision-Australia, in Yangon.

Meanwhile, the official death toll nearly doubled to 78,000 from the killer cyclone as aid workers shackled by the country’s uncooperative military regime struggled to get even the most basic data about the needs of up to 2.5 million desperate survivors.

Full article here.

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So now it means that any foreigners who arrive at Yangon are restricted to just STAY in Yangon. They aren’t allowed to leave the borders in order to get to the regions where more help is needed.

This is surely not good. To quote Malaysian Insider: The hand that has been slapping them for their political regime and human rights is the same hand that is offering them aid and saying this isn’t about politics. They distrust that hand.

Is this how the junta feels?

I don’t know how the powers-that-be work. Really. All I can see is that the junta is now effectively slowing down the aid process, and putting more of the victims at risk. There might be people who die because they didn’t receive aid in time. More might die of contaminated water or illnesses because no clean water was provided.

At the very least, the junta is allowing Myanmar staffers to the affected areas, along with some other nationals from India, Thailand, China and Bangladesh.

The numbers are massive. Let’s pray that this will soon be over, and the numbers don’t continue to climb.



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