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Thread: More from the Burmese cyclone front...

  1. #1
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Default More from the Burmese cyclone front...

    From CBC.ca
    UN halts aid shipments to Burma, accuses government of seizing supplies
    Last Updated: Friday, May 9, 2008 | 8:36 AM ET Comments17Recommend29
    CBC News

    The United Nations is suspending aid shipments to Burma, where authorities have begun seizing supplies intended for some 1.5 million cyclone survivors, a UN spokesman said Friday.

    All food aid and other supplies delivered by the UN World Food Program, whose four planes touched down in Burma for the first time Thursday, have been confiscated by the ruling military junta, said Paul Risley.

    More...
    To my mind, one of the most interesting elements of the story is this:

    U.S., France consider unilateral action

    Both American and French officials have raised the idea of dropping aid into Burma unilaterally, without permission from the ruling military junta. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, co-founder of the aid group Doctors Without Borders, said this week that unauthorized air drops could be permitted under the UN's "responsibility to protect" mandate, which applies to civilians.
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

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    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
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    Angry Might not be a bad idea

    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    From CBC.ca


    To my mind, one of the most interesting elements of the story is this:
    Just as long as we,

    Count on hearing about little johnny getting crushed by a dropped shipment.

    Poisoned food causes casualties(don't put it past some parties involved to do exactly that in order to cast aspersions on those who seek to assist.

    If certain countries are involved in helping to distribute they will pretend as if they did it all on their own.

    And a variety of other ways to politicize what we do rather than acknowledging the fact that we simply want to help the people.

    Then again ,guess thats understandable when the last thing that government wants is for the people to be helped
    Any man can destroy that which is around him, The rare man is he who can find beauty even in the darkest hours

    Cogitationis poenam nemo patitur

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default

    Count on hearing about little johnny getting crushed by a dropped shipment.
    Yep I can personally attest to that...

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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    First off, I'm still trying to find a decent background article that explains how so many of these people died. Was it by drowning?

    I also have had a difficult time comprehending the idiocy of acts such as throwing dead bodies into the river. I know that there is a little bit of shock still going on, but does no one have the most rudimentary education to understand that you'd like to keep the water supply as clean as possible, even if a cyclone did just churn everything up. I can just imagine the disease and misery starting to breed beneath the surface.

    I've dabbled in the study of humanitarian work and the security dynamics involved, and I'm sure aid seizure is nothing new. It's just plain sad.

  5. #5
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    First off, I'm still trying to find a decent background article that explains how so many of these people died. Was it by drowning?
    From my understanding, just based on the CBC articles and a few other reports I've seen, a lot of the deaths took place during the cyclone and in the immediate aftermath, especially in the delta region. There really doesn't seem to be that much detail, but there was an interview with a Canadian Save the Children's Fund rep who was in Rangoon already. He said that from what he had heard (2nd, 3rd,...nth? hand) most of the deaths were from delta villages being washed away and the injured dying from drowning and exposure. Apparently the road are totalled in the region.

    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    I also have had a difficult time comprehending the idiocy of acts such as throwing dead bodies into the river. I know that there is a little bit of shock still going on, but does no one have the most rudimentary education to understand that you'd like to keep the water supply as clean as possible, even if a cyclone did just churn everything up. I can just imagine the disease and misery starting to breed beneath the surface.
    Again, it seems that they weren't so much "thrown" in the river as floating/lodged in the river and the mangrove swamps. If there aren't many people left alive or, at least, walking, this could easily be the case.

    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    I've dabbled in the study of humanitarian work and the security dynamics involved, and I'm sure aid seizure is nothing new. It's just plain sad.
    Too true ! It does happen though; in some places with distressing regularity.
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default UN comment on airdrops

    The BBC Radio 4 lunchtime news had an interview with a UN spokesman on emergency relief and when asked about our Liberal-Democrat leader's call for airdrops demolished it. Yes, they can fall on people; then who organises distribution on the ground and more.

    If the affected areas are coastal then where are the local navies, notably India's?

    Lots of lovely PR newsreel on BBC TV news, nationality of planes not very clear, but clearly preference given to supplies from Bangladesh and PR China. Always offloaded by the Burmese Army.

    davidbfpo

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    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Avaaz.org gets in on the act with a call to support the Buddhist monks as a distribution system. Meanwhile, some UN planes get through and the referendum on the new Burmese constitution is still going ahead.

    Referendum vote begins in Burma amid devastation
    Last Updated: Friday, May 9, 2008 | 9:21 PM ET
    CBC News

    Voting on a referendum for a proposed new constitution has begun in Burma even as the country continues to struggle with devastation wreaked by a cyclone that left thousands dead and an estimated one million homeless.

    The military government of Burma, also known as Myanmar, pushed ahead with the controversial referendum across most of the country, though residents in areas hardest hit by Cyclone Nargis, including the largest city of Rangoon, get a two-week delay to cast their votes.

    More...
    In some ways, the cyclone couldn't have hit at a worse time for the Junta. I suspect that the last thing they want is a lot of international observers for their referendum who, by their mere presence, show how bad they are at governance.

    As a note, CBC is quite good at producing capsule summaries on story areas as backgrounders. Their one on Burma is here and includes links to a decent picture gallery.
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

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