Save Burma

အာဏာရွင္စနစ္ က်ဆံုးမွ တတိုင္းျပည္လံုး စစ္မွန္တဲ့ ဒီမိုကေရစီကို ခံစားရမယ္

Archive for May 20th, 2008

US questions relevance of funding conference for Myanmar

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(From L) Enrique Manalo, George Yeo, Noppadon Pattam and U Nyan Win (Burma)

Rescue workers upload relief goods from a helicopter in Hlaing Thayar township on the outskirts of Yangon

Myanmar’s junta leader Senior General Than Shwe (uniformed-C) visits cyclone-affected familes on the outskirts of Yangon

.20 May 2008

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States on Tuesday questioned the relevance of a scheduled fundraising conference for cyclone-battered Myanmar, saying it was more important for military rulers in the Southeast Asian state to provide swift increased access to disaster-hit areas.

“Without an adequate and independent assessment of the situation and current needs, as well as a commitment by the regime to provide the necessary access, a pledging conference is unlikely to produce the results we seek,” US envoy to ASEAN Scot Marciel told a Congressional hearing.

The United Nations and the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which Myanmar is a member, have announced plans to host a funds-pledging conference in Yangon on Sunday.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon left for Yangon Tuesday to hold talks with Myanmar’s junta and attend the conference, with a warning that international humanitarian aid had reached only a quarter of cyclone victims.

Some 133,000 people have died or are missing from Cyclone Nargis, which hit May 3.

Myanmar’s military junta agreed at ASEAN talks Monday in Singapore to allow neighboring countries to coordinate an international relief effort but doubts emerged over how effective any relief effort would be.

The junta has refused to allow in foreign aid workers in anything like the numbers needed, despite warnings that people could die without help.

The United Nations, which estimates that only 500,000 of the 2.4 million affected by the storm are receiving aid, is making a top-level diplomatic effort to press the regime to open up the country.

Marciel said the United States, which had provided more than 16 million dollars of humanitarian aid through the UN and non-governmental groups, was reviewing possible participation at the fundraising conference.

Washington, he said, still believed that the key to saving more lives was to increase access urgently to the disaster areas for international relief teams who could provide the expertise and logistical resources that the military regime lacked.

“We will continue to exhaust all diplomatic channels and opportunities to persuade the regime to grant access to the experts and assets that can expedite the flow of humanitarian assistance to those in need,” he said.

The junta insists it is capable of managing the logistics of the aid distribution operation but “it clearly is not,” Marciel said.

He said critical shortages abound — helicopters and helicopter pilots to ferry supplies to inaccessible areas, doctors to treat the sick and prevent infection and public health experts to provide sanitation facilities.

“The situation is increasingly desperate and the regime’s failure to provide greater access for the international community to the affected area is putting hundreds of thousands of lives at risk,” he said.

“The door must be opened far wider — and rapidly — to prevent a second catastrophe,” the responsibility for which would “fall squarely on the shoulders” of junta chief Than Shwe and the other generals, he said.

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5iTMEdqD6vfKutLK2zQw69-OfGf1g

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

May 20, 2008 at 6:53 pm

UN Chief Heads to Burma

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20 May 2008

Besheer report – Download (MP3) audio clip
Besheer report – Listen (MP3) audio clip

Before departing for cyclone-stricken Burma Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he hopes to meet with government officials, neighboring leaders and relief coordinators to plan the way forward out of this crisis. From U.N. headquarters in New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer has more.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, 08 May 2008
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, 08 May 2008

Mr. Ban said Burma is at a critical point. There is a functioning relief program in place, but it is reaching only a quarter of the people in need. He said he hopes improved U.N. and ASEAN coordination with the authorities in Burma (also known as Myanmar) will help scale up relief efforts quickly.

“My aim in going to Myanmar is to first of all, to demonstrate my sympathy to the people and government at this time of crisis and challenge, and to see for myself the situation on the ground, particularly in areas most affected by the disaster, unprecedented in Myanmar’s history,” he said.

The secretary-general said the devastation to the country is estimated at over $10 billion and that other factors, such as a not being able to plant the next harvest, could compound the crisis even further.  The cyclone has already claimed over 78,000 lives.

“In this sense, the economic effects of the natural disaster that has struck Myanmar could be more severe and longer lasting than the 2004 tsunami,” he noted.

Family displaced by cyclone moves to find shelter in Shwepoughkan township, 20 May 2008
Family displaced by cyclone moves to find shelter in Shwepoughkan township, 20 May 2008

Mr. Ban will be in Burma on Thursday and Friday. He plans to travel to some of the hardest hit areas, including the Irrawaddy Delta. He will go to Thailand on Saturday to meet with leaders there, then return to Yangon on Sunday to attend a joint U.N.-ASEAN international pledge conference for the cyclone victims.

The U.N. chief says he hopes to meet Burma’s Senior General Than Shwe and other top government officials. He welcomed what he called the military regime’s “recent flexibility” in deciding to allow Asian aid workers under ASEAN auspices into the country to oversee aid supplies and distribution, and said he believes similar moves will follow.

Diplomats, attending meetings at the U.N. in New York this week, welcomed Mr. Ban’s trip.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Zalmay Khalilzad, said that for the secretary-general’s trip to be successful he must focus on winning access for experts and supplies.

French Minister for Human Rights, Rama Yade, echoed that, saying she hopes after Mr. Ban’s visit, there will be better access to the victims.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Sunday’s international donor’s conference is a landmark event that must produce real outcomes that will deliver aid to the people on the ground whose humanitarian situation is growing worse.

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Written by Lwin Aung Soe

May 20, 2008 at 6:15 pm

US official: Myanmar’s storm response appalling

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Last Update: 9:52 am
Two weeks after Cyclone Nargis devastated Myanmar, the country's reclusive junta leader Than Shwe visited a refugee camp. (CNN via MRTV)

Two weeks after Cyclone Nargis devastated Myanmar, the country’s reclusive junta leader Than Shwe visited a refugee camp. (CNN via MRTV)

WASHINGTON (AP) – A senior U.S. diplomat says Myanmar’s military-led government will be responsible for the deaths of thousands of cyclone survivors if it does not allow foreign aid into the country.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Scot Marciel says the generals are not capable of managing the distribution of aid to people facing disease, malnutrition and exposure to the elements. He is criticizing what he calls Myanmar’s appalling response to the deadly cyclone as hundreds of thousands of survivors face an increasingly desperate situation.

Marciel told lawmakers Tuesday that Myanmar’s decision to hold a referendum on its draft constitution shortly after the May 2-3 storm hit shows its indifference to its own people’s welfare.

©2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Written by Lwin Aung Soe

May 20, 2008 at 4:53 pm

Pictures (5): Aftermath of Cyclone Nargis in Burma

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Pictures are from various sources.

Marines and sailors aboard the USS Essex fill 5-gallon water bladders Friday, May 16, 2008 in preparation for possible humanitarian assistance and disaster relief for the victims of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar. Essex and other U.S. Navy ships are standing by off the coast ready to provide relief supplies to reduce loss of life and mitigate human suffering resulting from the cyclone.

Marines and sailors aboard the USS Essex fill 5-gallon water bladders Friday, May 16, 2008 in preparation for possible humanitarian assistance and disaster relief for the victims of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar. Essex and other U.S. Navy ships are standing by off the coast ready to provide relief supplies to reduce loss of life and mitigate human suffering resulting from the cyclone. (AP Photo/ U.S. Navy, Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Kari R. Bergman)

French actress, singer and activist Jane Birkin, centre, amongst Burmese monks and other protesters as they take part in a "peaceful march to save Burma", during the 61st International film festival in Cannes, southern France, on Monday, May 19, 2008. The photos held aloft were taken in September and October 2007 during the Burma crackdown on monks. Burmese monks are traveling to Europe to share their personal testimony on the September and October 2007 crackdown in Burma and on the recent Nargis cyclone which devastated the country. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

French actress, singer and activist Jane Birkin, centre, amongst Burmese monks and other protesters as they take part in a “peaceful march to save Burma”, during the 61st International film festival in Cannes, southern France, on Monday, May 19, 2008. The photos held aloft were taken in September and October 2007 during the Burma crackdown on monks. Burmese monks are traveling to Europe to share their personal testimony on the September and October 2007 crackdown in Burma and on the recent Nargis cyclone which devastated the country. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau) (Lionel Cironneau – AP)

Buddhist monks joined a peaceful protest in the Thai border city of Mae Sot on Sunday.

Buddhist monks joined a peaceful protest in the Thai border city of Mae Sot on Sunday. (Stephen Puddicombe/CBC)

Myanmar family, who survived last week's destructive cyclone Nargis, stay in a temporary shelter in the outskirts of Yangon

There has been little evidence that Myanmar’s military government has been getting assistance to the survivors of a cyclone that has killed tens fo thousands of people. If international pressure fails to move the junta, forced intervention by other countries may be next. (AP Photo )

A girl leans against the wall of her damaged home in Yangon, Myanmar, Thursday, May 8, 2008. Six days after Cyclone Nargis slammed into Myanmar’s western coast, the impoverished country’s needs remain enormous. Myanmar’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday, May 9, 2008, that it wants relief supplies but not foreign aid workers in the country. (Photo: AP/Aktion Deutschland Hilft)

Myanmar children who survived deadly Cyclone Nargis take shelter at a monastery at Bogalay, Myanmar, on Friday, May 9, 2008. (Photo: AP Photo )

A Myanmar child displaced following Cyclone Nargis looks on at a temporary shelter on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar, Friday, May 9, 2008. (Photo: AP Photo )

A man rebuilds his hut which was destroyed by Cyclone Nargis in Yangon, Myanmar, Thursday, May 8, 2008. (Photo: AP/Aktion Deutschland Hilft)

An elderly Myanmar woman lays waiting for help in a hut following last weekend’s devastating cyclone, in Kun Chan Gone township, near Yangon, Myanmar Thursday, May 8, 2008. (Photo: AP Photo/Democratic Voice of Burma)

A Myanmar girl eats a meal of rice and peanuts while staying at a shelter in Kyauktan Township, in southern Myanmar on Thursday, May 8, 2008. (Photo: AP Photo )

A homeless woman whose house was destroyed in last weekend’s devastating cyclone feeds her daughter while taking shelter at a monastery in Kaw Hmu village, about 60 miles southwest of Yangon, Myanmar, Thursday, May 8, 2008. The U.N.’s World Food Program says its first flight carrying aid has landed in Myanmar after the military regime gave clearance to send relief material to cyclone victims. (Photo: AP Photo )

Young Myanmar residents collect water as basic supplies remain scarce following last weekend’s devastating cyclone in Yangon, Myanmar, Thursday, May 8, 2008. (Photo: AP Photo )

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

May 20, 2008 at 12:54 pm

In photos: ‘Burma Cyclone Aftermath May 19th’

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Asia-Pacific Features

In photos: ‘Burma Cyclone Aftermath May 19th’

By M&C News May 19, 2008, 19:33 GMT

A Burmese cyclone survivor carries food as he walk near an uprooted tree at a cyclone affected area outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar, 19 May 2008. The United Nations said 2.4 million people were still critically short of aid after the storm tore through the Southern Myanmar, and relief agencies warned that the most vulnerable survivors will start dying soon unless they get the aid they need.  EPA/EPA PHOTO

A Burmese cyclone survivor carries food as he walk near an uprooted tree at a cyclone affected area outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar, 19 May 2008. The United Nations said 2.4 million people were still critically short of aid after the storm tore through the Southern Myanmar, and relief agencies warned that the most vulnerable survivors will start dying soon unless they get the aid they need. EPA/EPA PHOTO

Burmese monks cut uprooted trees at a monastery in a cyclone affected area outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar, 19 May 2008. The United Nations said 2.4 million people were still critically short of aid after the storm tore through the Southern Myanmar, and relief agencies warned that the most vulnerable survivors will start dying soon unless they get the aid they need.  EPA/EPA PHOTO

Burmese monks cut uprooted trees at a monastery in a cyclone affected area outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar, 19 May 2008. The United Nations said 2.4 million people were still critically short of aid after the storm tore through the Southern Myanmar, and relief agencies warned that the most vulnerable survivors will start dying soon unless they get the aid they need. EPA/EPA PHOTO

A Burmese cyclone survivor sit in front of his damaged house in a cyclone affected area outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar, 19 May 2008. The United Nations said 2.4 million people were still critically short of aid after the storm tore through the Southern Myanmar, and relief agencies warned that the most vulnerable survivors will start dying soon unless they get the aid they need.  EPA/EPA PHOTO

A Burmese cyclone survivor sit in front of his damaged house in a cyclone affected area outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar, 19 May 2008. The United Nations said 2.4 million people were still critically short of aid after the storm tore through the Southern Myanmar, and relief agencies warned that the most vulnerable survivors will start dying soon unless they get the aid they need. EPA/EPA PHOTO

A Burmese cyclone survivor young girl stays inside a monastery at a cyclone affected area outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar, 19 May 2008. The United Nations said 2.4 million people were still critically short of aid after the storm tore through the Southern Myanmar, and relief agencies warned that the most vulnerable survivors will start dying soon unless they get the aid they need.  EPA/EPA PHOTO

A Burmese cyclone survivor young girl stays inside a monastery at a cyclone affected area outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar, 19 May 2008. The United Nations said 2.4 million people were still critically short of aid after the storm tore through the Southern Myanmar, and relief agencies warned that the most vulnerable survivors will start dying soon unless they get the aid they need. EPA/EPA PHOTO

Burmese cyclone survivors line up for food during aid distribution by a local donor at a cyclone affected area in Kyauktan, Myanmar, 19 May 2008. The United Nations said 2.4 million people were still critically short of aid after the storm tore through the Southern Myanmar, and relief agencies warned that the most vulnerable survivors will start dying soon unless they get the aid they need.  EPA/EPA PHOTO

Burmese cyclone survivors line up for food during aid distribution by a local donor at a cyclone affected area in Kyauktan, Myanmar, 19 May 2008. The United Nations said 2.4 million people were still critically short of aid after the storm tore through the Southern Myanmar, and relief agencies warned that the most vulnerable survivors will start dying soon unless they get the aid they need. EPA/EPA PHOTO

A Burmese cyclone survivor young boy carries his sister at a monastery in a cyclone affected area outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar, 19 May 2008. The United Nations said 2.4 million people were still critically short of aid after the storm tore through the Southern Myanmar, and relief agencies warned that the most vulnerable survivors will start dying soon unless they get the aid they need.  EPA/EPA PHOTO

A Burmese cyclone survivor young boy carries his sister at a monastery in a cyclone affected area outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar, 19 May 2008. The United Nations said 2.4 million people were still critically short of aid after the storm tore through the Southern Myanmar, and relief agencies warned that the most vulnerable survivors will start dying soon unless they get the aid they need. EPA/EPA PHOTO

Myanmars Minister for Foreign Affairs U Nyan Win (C) observes a moment of silence for the cyclone victims in Myanmar and the earthquake victims in China before the start of the Special ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore on 19 May 2008. The Special ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting was convened to discuss how the ASEAN members can assist Myanmar in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis.  EPA/Norman Ng

Myanmar’s Minister for Foreign Affairs U Nyan Win (C) observes a moment of silence for the cyclone victims in Myanmar and the earthquake victims in China before the start of the Special ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore on 19 May 2008. The Special ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting was convened to discuss how the ASEAN members can assist Myanmar in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis. EPA/Norman Ng

Burmese cyclone survivors children play near their shelter at a cyclone affected area in Kyauktan, Myanmar, 19 May 2008. The United Nations said 2.4 million people were still critically short of aid after the storm tore through the Southern Myanmar, and relief agencies warned that the most vulnerable survivors will start dying soon unless they get the aid they need.  EPA/EPA PHOTO

Burmese cyclone survivors children play near their shelter at a cyclone affected area in Kyauktan, Myanmar, 19 May 2008. The United Nations said 2.4 million people were still critically short of aid after the storm tore through the Southern Myanmar, and relief agencies warned that the most vulnerable survivors will start dying soon unless they get the aid they need. EPA/EPA PHOTO

Burmese residents pray under the rain during a ceremony to mark the enlightenment of Buddha at Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar, 19 May 2008. The United Nations said 2.4 million people were still critically short of aid after the storm tore through the Southern Myanmar, and relief agencies warned that the most vulnerable survivors will start dying soon unless they get the aid they need.  EPA/EPA PHOTO

Burmese residents pray under the rain during a ceremony to mark the enlightenment of Buddha at Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar, 19 May 2008. The United Nations said 2.4 million people were still critically short of aid after the storm tore through the Southern Myanmar, and relief agencies warned that the most vulnerable survivors will start dying soon unless they get the aid they need. EPA/EPA PHOTO

A Burmese residents walk under the rain during a ceremony to mark the enlightenment of Buddha at Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar, 19 May 2008. The United Nations said 2.4 million people were still critically short of aid after the storm tore through the Southern Myanmar, and relief agencies warned that the most vulnerable survivors will start dying soon unless they get the aid they need.  EPA/EPA PHOTO

A Burmese residents walk under the rain during a ceremony to mark the enlightenment of Buddha at Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar, 19 May 2008. The United Nations said 2.4 million people were still critically short of aid after the storm tore through the Southern Myanmar, and relief agencies warned that the most vulnerable survivors will start dying soon unless they get the aid they need. EPA/EPA PHOTO

A Burmese woman carries her son after receiving food from local donators on the outskirt of Yangon, Myanmar, 19 May 2008. The United Nations said 2.4 million people were still critically short of aid after the storm tore through the Southern Myanmar, and relief agencies warned that the most vulnerable survivors will start dying soon unless they get the aid they need.  EPA/EPA PHOTO

A Burmese woman carries her son after receiving food from local donators on the outskirt of Yangon, Myanmar, 19 May 2008. The United Nations said 2.4 million people were still critically short of aid after the storm tore through the Southern Myanmar, and relief agencies warned that the most vulnerable survivors will start dying soon unless they get the aid they need. EPA/EPA PHOTO

Two children look at empty water tank as others wait for food on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar, 19 May 2008. The United Nations said 2.4 million people were still critically short of aid after the storm tore through the Southern Myanmar, and relief agencies warned that the most vulnerable survivors will start dying soon unless they get the aid they need.  EPA/EPA PHOTO

Two children look at empty water tank as others wait for food on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar, 19 May 2008. The United Nations said 2.4 million people were still critically short of aid after the storm tore through the Southern Myanmar, and relief agencies warned that the most vulnerable survivors will start dying soon unless they get the aid they need. EPA/EPA PHOTO

A Burmese nun and residents burn incense during a ceremony to mark the enlightenment of Buddha at Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar, 19 May 2008. The United Nations said 2.4 million people were still critically short of aid after the storm tore through the Southern Myanmar, and relief agencies warned that the most vulnerable survivors will start dying soon unless they get the aid they need.  EPA/EPA PHOTO

A Burmese nun and residents burn incense during a ceremony to mark the enlightenment of Buddha at Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar, 19 May 2008. The United Nations said 2.4 million people were still critically short of aid after the storm tore through the Southern Myanmar, and relief agencies warned that the most vulnerable survivors will start dying soon unless they get the aid they need. EPA/EPA PHOTO

A Burmese woman receives food from local donators on the outskirt of Yangon, Myanmar, 19 May 2008. The United Nations said 2.4 million people were still critically short of aid after the storm tore through the Southern Myanmar, and relief agencies warned that the most vulnerable survivors will start dying soon unless they get the aid they need.  EPA/EPA PHOTO

A Burmese woman receives food from local donators on the outskirt of Yangon, Myanmar, 19 May 2008. The United Nations said 2.4 million people were still critically short of aid after the storm tore through the Southern Myanmar, and relief agencies warned that the most vulnerable survivors will start dying soon unless they get the aid they need. EPA/EPA PHOTO

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

May 20, 2008 at 12:33 pm

Our view: Myanmar’s leaders among world’s worst

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Published: May 20, 2008 03:27 am

Our view: Myanmar’s leaders among world’s worst

It is possible that there is no worse government on the planet than the military junta running Myanmar.

A cyclone May 3 devastated the southeast Asian country formerly known as Burma. While the official government death toll is around 32,000, the United Nations estimates that 60,000 to 100,000 may have been killed by the storm. The death toll may push into the millions as the storm’s victims, their homes and crops destroyed, now face starvation and disease.

The world has rallied to help the victims of Myanmar. But the paranoid military government in control since 1988 has allowed only a trickle of foreign aid into the country. The rulers fear foreign influences and the damage to their reputations if they are seen needing outside help.

So Myanmar’s people suffer as aid piles up along the border in Thailand, waiting for a general’s whim to allow it in.

The military previously had seized two planeloads of relief supplies from the U.N., prompting the organization to suspend for a time its aid shipments. To boost their prestige, some of Myanmar’s generals have seized foreign aid containers and written their own names on them, to fool the people into believing they were helping rather than simply adding to the people’s misery.

Other members of the military who should be helping rescue people and repairing damaged roads are instead chasing down foreign journalists who dare to report on the devastation.

Meanwhile, in the middle of this madness, the government held a referendum vote on a new constitution designed to consolidate its hold on power.

It is unfortunate that it takes a tragedy of this magnitude to focus the world’s attention on the brutishness of Myanmar’s government. Myanmar’s generals have earned a place along with North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il as the worst leaders in the world. A government that places a higher priority on its power and prestige than on the basic survival of its people is unworthy of rule.

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Written by Lwin Aung Soe

May 20, 2008 at 12:09 pm

World Focus on Burma (20 May 08)

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3 day mourning period observed in Myanmar
NECN, MA –
(NECN) – Myanmar formerly known as Burma is observing a three day period of mourning for victims of that massive cylcone. The national flag is flying at …
Get help to Burmese
Buffalo News, United States –
… include the blowing away of the Myanmar junta. The military dictatorship of the nation formerly (and in some places still) known as Burma has apparently …
Flags at half-mast in Myanmar
Swissinfo, Switzerland –
Historically the military in the former Burma has been suspicious of foreign interference. That distrust deepened since the wave of international outrage …
Newspaper to end supplement that led to seizures in Cambodia
Monsters and Critics.com –
‘The Burma Daily will not appear in The Cambodia Daily again,’ Bernard Krisher, publisher of both newspapers, said while adding that the supplement would …
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Washington Post

Monks from Myanmar march in Cannes Film Festival
Washington Post, United States –
Myanmar’s May 2-3 cyclone left at least 134000 people dead or missing. European Union nations have warned the junta could be committing a crime against …
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Myanmar: International access “inadequate”
ReliefWeb (press release), Switzerland –
BANGKOK, 20 May 2008 (IRIN) – More than two weeks after Cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar, only 500000 of the estimated 2.4 million people affected have …
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Thai pastor in pleas for cyclone aid
Halesowen News, UK –
So while he awaits news from Pastor Zaw, who has returned home to devastated Myanmar in Burma to search for friends and family, he is appealing to people to …
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Refugees raise funds for Burma cyclone aid
News Sentinel, IN –
The dictatorship, known as the State Peace and Development Council, changed the name of Burma to Myanmar. The dictatorship has been accused of hoarding food …
.
UN disaster chief meets Myanmar PM
Khaleej Times, United Arab Emirates –
YANGON- The top United Nations aid official met Myanmar’s prime minister Thein Sein Tuesday in the highest level meeting so far during his visit to the …
ADB considering sending experts to Myanmar
Khaleej Times, United Arab Emirates –
SINGAPORE – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said Tuesday it is considering sending experts to Myanmar to assess the cyclone-hit nation’s reconstruction …
Myanmar mourns for 78000 cyclone victims
The Associated Press –
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar began three days of mourning for some 78000 cyclone victims Tuesday, after its ruling junta appeared to relent to foreign …
Local community organizes for Myanmar assistance
Daily – University of Washington, WA –
This was not approved by any legislature in Burma, so the United States does not recognize it. The name Burma was used during British colonial rule. Myanmar …
Army Commander dispatches aid caravan to Myanmar
ReliefWeb (press release), Switzerland –
Supreme Army Commander General Boonsarng Niempradit (บุญสร้าง เนียมประดิษฐ) presided over a ceremony to release a caravan of trucks carrying aid to Myanmar. …
Asean Take-up aid work in Myanmar
PR-Inside.com (Pressemitteilung), Austria –
… Irrawady delta to which the Myanmar officials have refused his plea for teams and aircrafts to land from abroad directly to Burma to give speedy releif. …
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Lack of infrastructure and restrictions hamper aid effort
Mizzima.com, India –
“It is impossible for me to visit those [Irrawaddy Delta] areas, so I can only rely on the reports coming from the Myanmar [Burma] Red Cross society,” …
Students design, rally to help Myanmar victims
Stanford Daily, CA –
By Anneke Nelson Burma, a former British colony now called Myanmar, is one of the poorest countries in Asia. On May 2, Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar and killed …
“I’ll never see Rangoon again”
Radio Netherlands, Netherlands –
The Delta is called Burma’s Rice Bowl, because it supplies 60% of the country’s rice. But now 4.5 million acres of rice paddies have been transformed into …
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UK govt still worried as more Burma aid begins
Politics.co.uk, UK –
International development secretary Douglas Alexander says the UK will continue to press Burma on its aid delivery conditions as the south-east Asian …
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Charity worker’s Burma mission
ic Wales, United Kingdom –
“The scale of this emergency is difficult to comprehend, despite the news reports that we are getting from Myanmar (Burma). I don’t think I’ll really be ….
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Disasters show value of global health conference
Vancouver Sun, Canada –
“Burma [Myanmar] is a good and topical example of the unfortunate events we’ll be discussing at the conference,” she said in an interview, adding that goals …
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World Bank: no money for tardy Burma
NEWS.com.au, Australia –
“The World Bank is not in a position to assist Myanmar (Burma) at this time,” World Bank managing director Juan Jose Daboub said. …
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TopNews

Aid agencies plead for more Australian donations for Burma
The Australian, Australia –
AUSTRALIA’s aid agencies have again urged Australians to open their pockets to help two million Burmese affected by Cyclone Nargis as Burma’s military …
Aid workers welcome Burma aid decision ABC Online
Open wallets for Burma, urges Rudd NEWS.com.au
‘It’s difficult in there. It’s like walking a tightrope’ The Age
Sydney Morning HeraldDispatch Online
all 68 news articles »
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Leprosy Mission supports disabled Burma cyclone victims
ChristianToday, UK –
Buddhists in Cyclone Nargis-hit Myanmar celebrated the Kason festival,… The Leprosy Mission is appealing for donations to support its work with disabled …
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Disaster regimes
Toledo Blade, OH –
The paranoid generals who rule that country, formerly known as Burma, have approached foreign aid in a way that’s irresponsible at best, murderous at worst. …
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CTV.ca

Myanmar cyclone: Burma begins three days of mourning for victims
Telegraph.co.uk, United Kingdom –
By Nick Allen Burma today began three days of official mourning for the victims of Cyclone Nargis as the country’s ruling junta began accepting limited help …
UN Humanitarian Chief in Burma to Boost Cyclone Aid Effort Voice of America
Burma, China and America: Perspective on How Nations Handle … NewsBlaze
UN sees up to 2.5 mln Myanmar cyclone victims Reuters
ReliefWeb (press release)Mizzima.com
all 84 news articles »
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Shippensburg graduate returns to area to gather relief assistance ...
Chambersburg Public Opinion, PA –
She lived in the country of Myanmar, also known as Burma, for the last five years. With her return to this country on Saturday, she is embarking on a …
.
Jaro Archdiocese launches fund-raising drive for calamity victims
News Today Online, Philippines –
… Jr. The Archdiocese of Jaro has launched a fund-raising campaign for victims of the separate calamities that have ravaged China and Myanmar (Burma). …
.
UN Chief Heads to Cyclone-Stricken Burma
Voice of America –
… that the secretary-general would go directly to the areas hardest hit by Cyclone Nargis when he arrives in Burma – also known as Myanmar – on Thursday. …..
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Myanmar Cyclone Aid Plan Is Based on 2004 Tsunami, Asean Says
Bloomberg –
… head the taskforce that will work with the United Nations and the military rulers of the country formerly known as Burma. Myanmar’s junta declared three …
.

Corpus Christi Caller Times

Our opinion: Biofools
Times Record News, TX –
There was a time when Myanmar — then Burma — was the largest rice-exporting country in the world. But decades of mismanagement by an authoritarian military …
Rep. Garcia fends off attacks about campaign contribution Corpus Christi Caller Times
Clean, natural is in again Times Record News
all 1,004 news articles »
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Burma lets neighbours help out
Toronto Star, Canada –
… who accuse the regional grouping, ASEAN, of appeasing the ruling military junta in order to make business deals in Burma, also known as Myanmar. …
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Business Roundtable Mobilizes Private Sector Response to Urgent …
CSRwire.com (press release) –
(CSRwire) WASHINGTON, DC – May 19, 2008 – Immediately following the cyclone that ravaged Myanmar on May 2 and the earthquake that hit Sichuan China on May …
Donations Continue for Asian Disasters Chronicle of Philanthropy (subscription)
all 6 news articles »
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Across the ‘friendship bridge,’ a cold reception
Globe and Mail, Canada –
Here, as in most of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, people live hand-to-mouth, selling fruit and vegetables from stalls or doing menial labour. …

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Myanmar Country Profile
Fact Monster, MA –
The ethnic origins of modern Myanmar (known historically as Burma) are a mixture of Indo-Aryans, who began pushing into the area around 700 BC, …
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Monsters and Critics.com

In photos: ‘Burma Cyclone Aftermath May 19th’
Monsters and Critics.com –
The United Nations said 2.4 million people were still critically short of aid after the storm tore through the Southern Myanmar, and relief agencies warned …
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DEC Myanmar (Burma) Appeal raises £8 million
ReliefWeb (press release), Switzerland –
The DEC Myanmar (Burma) Cyclone Appeal donation total has reached £8 million and vital aid efforts have now reached over 600000 people. …
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Myanmar cyclone: plan to beat Burmese block on Western aid
Telegraph.co.uk, United Kingdom –
By David Blair and Thomas Bell An international relief operation designed to help victims of Burma’s cyclone, exploiting loopholes in the regime’s ban on …
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Alexander Downer backs force to get aid to Burma cyclone victims
NEWS.com.au, Australia –
… translate their solidarity and sympathy into concrete commitments to help the people of Myanmar (Burma) emerge from the tragedy and rebuild their lives. …
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White House: cyclone-hit Myanmar benefit from US aid
People’s Daily Online, China –
“We have had 31 flights into Burma thus far. We’re continuing to deliver emergency relief commodities, including water, blankets, hygiene kits, …
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The Southern Ledger

How hard will neighbors push Burma (Myanmar)?
Christian Science Monitor, MA –
With Western naval ships loaded with aid waiting at their door, and visiting UN diplomats demanding faster rescue and relief, Burma (Myanmar) agreed to …
Myanmar Allows Assistance from Asian Neighbors About – News & Issues
Burma lets neighbours help out Toronto Star
‘ASEAN deal not enough for Myanmar cyclone victims’ Inquirer.net
ABC OnlineCNN
all 1,249 news articles »
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CBC.ca

How one family in Burma (Myanmar) reconnected after the cyclone
Christian Science Monitor, MA –
… off by security officials who have stepped up control of the devastated area, and restricted foreigners to Rangoon, the main city in Burma (Myanmar). …
Across the ‘friendship bridge,’ a cold reception Globe and Mail
Cruel Burma regime bans mercy Scotsman
Relatives search Web for images of Burma’s cyclone victims Toronto Star
ReutersChristian Science Monitor
all 19 news articles »
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Written by Lwin Aung Soe

May 20, 2008 at 10:49 am

Myanmar relents, will allow relief help

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Military junta to permit neighboring countries to over see aid distribution

Survivors of Cyclone Nargis rush to receive donated goods from a monastery outside Yangon on Monday.

updated 4:35 p.m. ET May 19, 2008

YANGON, Myanmar – Myanmar’s junta, facing global outrage for spurning international assistance, appeared to relent Monday, saying it would allow its Asian neighbors to oversee the distribution of foreign relief to cyclone survivors.

It also approved a visit by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and prepared to host a meeting of aid donors, while claiming that losses from the May 2-3 disaster exceeded $10 billion.

A three-day official period of mourning was to begin Tuesday for the dead, which numbered more than 78,000, according to official figures. Another 56,000 people are missing.

Conditions, especially in the hard-hit low-lying Irrawaddy Delta, remain precarious for survivors, who face disease, malnutrition and exposure to the elements.

Heavy rain fell again Monday, said the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, noting that such weather can have the benefit of providing clean water for those able to catch the downpour with plastic sheeting.

Remote areas most vulnerable
“However, the rain for many others simply adds to the misery as they look forward to their 18th night in often wretched conditions,” the agency said. “In addition, access to already relatively inaccessible locations is set to remain very difficult.”

The organization remained concerned about the distribution of relief supplies, saying “Reports indicate that in most of the bigger affected townships, basic relief and food is available but much less so in the more remote areas.”

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It added that there seemed to be problems even at some of the temporary relief camps set up by the government: “While significant relief is getting through, there are indications of mounting frustration among many displaced communities.”

Myanmar, responding to entreaties from its Southeast Asia neighbors, promised Monday that it would let them into the cyclone-devastated areas to oversee and help distribute foreign assistance.

In Singapore, an emergency meeting of foreign ministers from the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations agreed to set up an ASEAN-led task force for distributing foreign aid.

“This mechanism will facilitate the effective distribution and utilization of assistance from the international community, including the expeditious and effective deployment of relief workers, especially health and medical personnel,” said Singapore’s Foreign Minister George Yeo.

Myanmar agreed to open its doors to medical teams from all ASEAN countries, Yeo said. ASEAN member Thailand had already sent teams in, as did non-ASEAN neighbors India and China.

A young victim of Cyclone Nargis stands in line
AP
A young boy stands in line for food at a monastery outside Yangon.

Myanmar Foreign Minister Nyan Win told the meeting that losses from the cyclone are expected to be “well over US$10 billion.”

ASEAN and the U.N. jointly announced an ASEAN-UN International Pledging Conference to seek some of the needed funding, to be held this Sunday in Yangon.

“The Conference will focus on the needs of those affected by the cyclone, and seek international support and financial assistance for the international humanitarian response to meet the most urgent challenges, as well as longer term recovery efforts,” said their announcement.

U.N. chief arrives Thursday
British Secretary of State for International Development Douglas Alexander welcomed ASEAN’s initiative but add that his government is “continuing to press the Burmese government to accept direct assistance in the affected areas from the UK and other major donors.”

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will arrive in Yangon on Thursday and stay until Friday night, when he will fly to Bangkok. He will return to Yangon on Sunday to co-chair the pledging conference, U.N. spokeswoman Michele Montas said in New York. He will tour the battered delta during his visit, but it is not yet known which officials he will meet.

Earlier, junta leader Senior Gen. Than Shwe refused to take telephone calls from Ban and had not responded to letters from him, Montas said.

John Holmes, the U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, flew Monday by helicopter to the delta before returning to Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, to meet with international aid agencies, said a U.N. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with the media.

But the United Nations said the rest of its foreign staff were still barred from the delta and it described conditions there as “terrible,” with hundreds of thousands of cyclone victims suffering from hunger, disease and lack of shelter.

The world body was seeing “some progress in terms of pipelines starting to come through” but the aid operation was still unsatisfactory,” said Amanda Pitt, a U.N. spokeswoman in Bangkok.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24700737/

Slide show
Internally displaced people
Myanmar’s misery
View images of the aftermath from Cyclone Nargis.

Myanmar cyclone video
Despair in Myanmar
May 12: An aid worker from Operation Blessing describes the horrors he’s witnessing in Myanmar.

Interactive: How tragedy happened

Click here to see the cyclone’s path, satellite images, eyewitness reports and more.

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

May 20, 2008 at 4:54 am

Burma: Cyclone updated top news (20 May 2008)

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UN’s Ban says Myanmar to allow WFP helicopters

Reuters

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Canada.com

UN chief hopeful over Burma aid

The Press Association –
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is heading to Burma to press for speedy relief for 75% of those affected by Cyclone Nargis who have received no help.
Burma junta relents on disaster The Age
Myanmar mourns dead as UN reports aid progress National Post
ReutersUSA TodayABC OnlineVoice of America
all 305 news articles »

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Borneo Bulletin

Burma Warns of Food Shortage

Washington Post –
Burma officials have invited representatives of several countries to visit the cyclone-hit delta in a bid to deflect criticism that it is mismanaging relief operations.
World Bank Says No Aid to Burma Voice of America
UN head expected to meet Myanmar junta leader The Associated Press
CNNNew York TimesReutersBloomberg
all 1,085 news articles »

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Windsor Star

Charity worker’s Burma mission

ic Wales –
“The scale of this emergency is difficult to comprehend, despite the news reports that we are getting from Myanmar (Burma). I don’t think I’ll really be able to understand the situation until I’m out there.” Jess, who is originally from Edinburgh, …
WRAPUP 2-Myanmar mourns cyclone victims; aid pressure grows Reuters India
Slow progress as Myanmar diplomatic efforts intensify Monsters and Critics.com
GulfNewsJavno.hrAljazeera.netScoop.co.nz (press release)
all 345 news articles »


NDTV.com

Starvation threatens in once fertile Myanmar

CNN –
Soon after its independence from Britain in 1948, Myanmar — then known as Burma — was the world’s largest rice exporter.
Flags at half-mast in Myanmar amid aid pressure Reuters India
Myanmar begins 3 days of mourning Inquirer.net
New Zealand HeraldEarthtimes (press release)Asia Times OnlineHelsingin Sanomat
all 4,127 news articles »

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Myanmar mourns dead as U.N. reports aid progress

Reuters –

People repair their homes in a village hit by Cyclone Nargis, outside of Yangon May 20, 2008. (Stringer/Reuters)

Reuters Photo: People repair their homes in a village hit by Cyclone Nargis, outside of Yangon May…

UN keeps pressure on Myanmar to allow in more aid

YANGON, Myanmar – The U.N.’s top humanitarian official made fresh pleas to Myanmar’s military government Tuesday to allow in more foreign aid for cyclone survivors, as the country began three days of mourning for the 134,000 dead and missing.

WHO chief urges disaster-proof hospitals

Mon May 19, 2:11 PM ET

GENEVA – The disasters in China and Myanmar underscore the need to improve construction of hospitals and schools so they can withstand high winds and earthquakes, the head of the U.N. health agency said Monday.

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Javno.hr

Myanmar mourns cyclone victims

CNN –

YANGON, Myanmar (CNN) — With flags lowered to half-staff, Myanmar began a three-day mourning period Tuesday for the victims of a devastating cyclone that reportedly killed more than 130000 people and left at least two million homeless.
Myanmar Mourns Victims of Cyclone New York Times
Myanmar mourns for 78000 cyclone victims The Associated Press
BloombergReutersInternational Herald TribuneSan Jose Mercury News
all 989 news articles »
The international aid agencies finally have a route to get vast amounts of relief supplies into Myanmar. It has been agreed that neighbouring south east-Asian countries will coordinate the aid operation for the United Nations.
Myanmar reiterates need to go through procedures for foreign … Xinhua
GC Participants Asked to Support Humanitarian Efforts in China and … The FINANCIAL
New York MagazineJohns Hopkins GazetteInternational Herald TribuneVoice of America
all 549 news articles »
Lord Malloch Brown is just back from Rangoon claiming credit for the agreement on what he calls the “middle way”, a compromise announced today under which the West would let Burma’s neighbours take the lead in delivering aid, in order to get round the …
More Aid Needed For Burma Voice of America
Burma junta shows signs of backtracking Times Online
Telegraph.co.ukFOXNewsguardian.co.ukIndependent
all 747 news articles »
By David Blair and Thomas Bell An international relief operation designed to help victims of Burma’s cyclone, exploiting loopholes in the regime’s ban on Western aid, should begin soon, Britain said.
Internet can force change in Myanmar: Brown AFP
British minister predicts ‘dramatic steps’ by Myanmar to open up … International Herald Tribune
Times OnlineReutersReuters UKelEconomista.es
all 376 news articles »

Myanmar opens door to help from Asian neighbors

AP –

YANGON, Myanmar – Myanmar‘s junta, facing global outrage for spurning international assistance, appeared to relent Monday, saying it would allow its Asian neighbors to oversee the distribution of foreign relief to cyclone survivors.

It also approved a visit by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and prepared to host a meeting of aid donors, while claiming that losses from the May 2-3 disaster exceeded $10 billion…….

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Seattle Post Intelligencer

Myanmar mourns cyclone dead; aid pressure grows

Reuters –
By Aung Hla Tun YANGON (Reuters) – Army-ruled Myanmar started three days of mourning on Tuesday for the 134000 dead and missing from Cyclone Nargis as diplomats pressed the reclusive generals to speed up aid to 2.4 million survivors.

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Myanmar Is Said to Allow Aid Efforts by Neighbors New York Times
Myanmar agrees to accept ASEAN cyclone aid CNN International
International Herald TribuneThe Associated PressMonsters and Critics.comAljazeera.net
all 2,299 news articles »

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NDTV.com

Asian medical teams now working in Burma

CTV.ca –
Burma has bowed to weeks of diplomatic pressure and allowed in medical teams from neighbouring countries to help the survivors of Cyclone Nargis.
Smith welcomes ASEAN aid deal for Burma ABC Online
International sea convoy awaits mediation by Asian bloc to deliver … International Herald Tribune
The Associated Pressguardian.co.ukBloombergABC Online
all 775 news articles »


Voice of America

UN Chief Heads to Cyclone-Stricken Burma

Voice of America –
Mr. Ban’s spokeswoman, Michele Montas, said Monday that the secretary-general would go directly to the areas hardest hit by Cyclone Nargis when he arrives in Burma – also known as Myanmar – on Thursday. “His objective is to reinforce the ongoing aid …
UN Chief to Visit Cyclone-Ravaged Myanmar NPR
UN humanitarian official arrives in Burma Radio Australia
MaximsNews NetworkArabisto.comAHNUN News Centre
all 1,206 news articles »


The Southern Ledger

Burma generals agree to UN aid for cyclone victims

Independent –
It was hoped the junta would waive visa requirements for relief agencies based in Burma. But with time running out for two million survivors in the Irrawaddy delta threatened with disease and starvation, he feared that the agreement with the Burmese …
More Aid Needed For Burma Voice of America
Can Lord Malloch-Brown help Burma? Telegraph.co.uk
Times OnlineAFPFOXNewsAgenzia Giornalistica Italia
all 707 news articles »

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

May 20, 2008 at 4:25 am