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အာဏာရွင္စနစ္ က်ဆံုးမွ တတိုင္းျပည္လံုး စစ္မွန္တဲ့ ဒီမိုကေရစီကို ခံစားရမယ္

Archive for May 26th, 2008

Weeks After Cyclone in Myanmar, Even Farmers Wait for Food

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Published: May 26, 2008

The New York Times

On a road near Pyapon, in an area of Myanmar ravaged by a cyclone, people waited on Sunday for aid from Burmese civilians.

PYAPON, Myanmar — The roads of the ravaged Irrawaddy Delta are lined these days with people hoping to be fed.

After lifetimes living off the land, poor farmers have abandoned their ruined rice paddies, setting up makeshift bamboo shelters, waiting for carloads of Burmese civilians who have taken it on themselves to feed those who lost everything to Cyclone Nargis.

Few of those who wait say they have received anything from the government, other than threats.

“They said if we don’t break our huts and disappear, they will shoot us,” one man in the village of Thee Kone said over the weekend before a police jeep approached. “But as you can see, it’s raining now. We are pleading to the police to give us one more day and we will be gone far, far from the road, as they wish.”

A red sign on a stake along one road read: “Don’t throw food on the roads. It ruins the people’s good habits.”

On Sunday, donors from more than 50 countries and international agencies meeting in Yangon promised they would deliver more than $150 million in aid to help the country recover from the May 3 storm, The Associated Press reported, but only if they could get access to hard-hit areas like the delta. It remained unclear if Myanmar’s rulers were willing to meet that demand.

At the donor conference, Lt. Gen. Thein Sein, Myanmar’s prime minister, said that international aid was welcome, “provided that there are no strings attached,” according to news agencies that were allowed to send reporters to the meeting.

The conference also made clear a gap remained between the views of the government and the donors on what Myanmar needed most urgently.

The government, which insists that the emergency phase of the disaster is over, showed a video suggesting the country had enough rice, and that what it needed instead was billions of dollars for long-term reconstruction. Some analysts fear that the focus on rebuilding is a ploy.

“I believe they just want to use it for their ordinary activity, put it into their accounts and use it to buy weapons or houses or whatever they would like to do,” Josef Silverstein, an expert on Myanmar with Rutgers University, said in a recent interview.

The United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, said he believed that short-term help was a priority, with hundreds of thousands left homeless and aid reaching only a fraction of those who needed it. “The needs remain acute,” Mr. Ban said Sunday, “from clean water and sanitation to shelter, medical supplies and food.”

The breadth of those needs was evident during a trip on Friday and Saturday to the delta, the area most devastated by the storm, which left at least 134,000 people dead or missing. It also ruined rice fields and destroyed stocks of rice in flooding that followed.

Villagers in the region, which previously provided much of the rice for the country of 48 million, now squat along miles of roads, holding out bowls to the occasional passing cars bringing food and other supplies. Children keep a vigil, rushing to the vehicles for handouts, sometimes thrusting their arms inside the cars’ windows.

“I don’t know how the government is helping us,” said Ko Htay Oo, 40, in Kungyangon, a delta town 30 miles south of Yangon, Myanmar’s main city. He said the only aid he had seen was delivered by other Burmese citizens.

“I am no beggar, so I didn’t eat anything in the past two days,” he said, leaning against a roadside palm tree. “Besides, you shouldn’t compete with kids for begged food.”

Those who have gotten government help say it is not nearly enough.

U Min Lwin, 37, said his family had received a government ration only twice in the three weeks since the storm; each time they were given seven cups of rice.

A 51-year-old woman who gave her name as San said she recently received potatoes and a small amount of beans from the government but had no stove for cooking them.

Some people have been given government-issued tents, but the tents can accommodate only a small fraction of those left homeless.

In the village of Thee Kone near Pyapon, a major town in the delta, victims said that the village had received four tents that house 20 people each. Any family lucky enough to find tent space had received 16 cups of rice in the past week, a little more than two cups a day.

“There are many other families who want to move into the tents, but there is not enough space,” said the villager who spoke of the police intimidation. “So people complain. They complain not to the government or to the village administrator, but to each other, arguing, ‘Why are you in the tent and I am not?’ ”

He and others had built their own shelters by the road, but it was unclear where they would go after the police told them to leave Friday.

Those and other makeshift dwellings that have popped up on the roadsides are barely sufficient to shield people from the searing morning sun or the monsoon rains that sweep in to drench the area most afternoons.

Many of those who moved to the roadsides are the poorest of Burmese farmers, those who rent rice paddies from landlords. Before the storm, they traveled with their buffaloes, ducks and pigs from field to field, living in huts beside their paddies.

Now, as before, they live next to their source of food, with whatever little they were able to salvage from the wall of water that smashed into many parts of the delta.

One man found shelter in a large bamboo basket he had salvaged from the floodwater. Another lived in a tent built with a plastic Tiger Beer advertising banner that a truck driver had thrown to him. Pigs are tied to roadside palm trees. Ducks swim in the nearby ditches.

The roads are littered with plastic trash from the packaging of donated food.

“I have no dish, no cup, no blanket, no pillow. I have received nothing from the government,” said Daw San Mar Oo, 31, a farmer in a hamlet near Dedaye. “I have nothing in my hands.”

Still, the government continues to make it difficult for those wishing to offer private charity. Police officers armed with rifles stopped cars at checkpoints on Friday and Saturday. Foreigners without government permits to enter the disaster zone were turned back after their passports were copied. Those Burmese who were allowed to pass through were given a warning: Any donation, a yellow handout notice said, must be distributed through village leaders allied with the government.

In Pyapon, a commercial hub renowned for its “hpaya” grass mats, people maintained a semblance of traditional Burmese hospitality despite the disaster. When outside visitors asked for directions at dusk, a man offered them food and lodging at his home.

Pyapon, a trading center for rice, dried fish and fish paste, is the hometown of many rich Burmese tradesmen. But in this town, too, tales of horror were told, over evening tea.

“Dead bodies floating down the Pyapon River are no longer strangers to us,” said Daw Khin Kyi, a resident. “Some of these bodies still wear gold necklaces and bracelets, so some people went out to collect them in the first few days. But now, after many days, nobody goes near. Fish are nibbling at the bodies.”

Ma Ye Ye Tan, a 17-year-old from a hamlet down the river, survived the cyclone. She had arrived at the home of a Pyapon relative several days after the cyclone with virtually nothing on, shivering in monsoon rain.

Now, she said, she did want to go back to her village, which is filled with death. She is not sure what happened to her parents.

“After the cyclone came and went, we continued to hear people shouting in the darkness, but when village men went to search for them, they could find no one,” she said. “We think they are ghosts shouting. I am afraid of ghosts.”

Seth Mydans contributed reporting from Bangkok.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/26/world/asia/26myanmar.html?hp

The New York Times

The Irrawaddy Delta provided much of Myanmar’s rice.

Times Topics: Myanmar | Cyclone Nargis

Related

Myanmar Diverts French Warship Carrying Aid (May 27, 2008)

Times Topics: Myanmar | Cyclone Nargis
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Lisandru/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Children from an isolated Irrawaddy Delta village, which is accessible only by boat, waiting on Friday to receive donated food.

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Written by Lwin Aung Soe

May 26, 2008 at 8:13 am

Military rulers silent on Suu Kyi’s detention deadline as donors gather in Myanmar

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The Associated Press

Published: May 25, 2008

BANGKOK, Thailand: The deadline for pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s house arrest expires this week, but Myanmar’s military rulers remained silent about her fate Sunday as international donors pushed politics aside to help suffering cyclone victims.

The detention of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Suu Kyi has been at the center of friction between the secretive junta and many countries around the world, who have tirelessly campaigned for her release. She was last put under house arrest in May 2003, and the term has been renewed every year since.

But this year’s deadline comes at a critical point. Under Myanmar law, no one can be held longer than five years without being released or put on trial, said U.S. lawyer Jared Genser, hired by Suu Kyi’s family to push for her release.

It remained unclear what action, if any, the regime would take as the world focuses on the Southeast Asian country still reeling from Cyclone Nargis. The storm killed 78,000 people three weeks ago and left another 2.4 million people homeless and facing hunger and disease.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and representatives from 50 nations met Sunday for a one-day fundraising conference in Myanmar’s biggest city, Yangon. The donors have agreed, at least for now, to focus on the humanitarian relief effort.

“We must think about people just now, not politics,” Ban told the conference.

The junta has made it nearly impossible for foreign aid agencies to get access to the Irrawaddy Delta — where the cyclone damage was worst — but the country’s ruling general promised Ban on Friday that those restrictions would be lifted. The government has estimated the economic damage at about US$11 billion (€7 billion).

“Their failure to abide by their own law by refusing to release (Suu Kyi) … is a clear slap in the face to Ban Ki-moon and the ASEAN diplomats and others coming into town,” Genser said, referring to the member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. “They are out of time to hold her under their own law.”

Genser, of U.S.-based Freedom Now, which represents pro-democracy dissidents in a number of countries, said Suu Kyi’s house arrest expired at midnight Saturday. But Nyan Win, spokesman for her opposition National League of Democracy party, said it would not officially be up until Monday, adding there had been “no sign at all” indicating what the government will do.

On Saturday, the government held the second phase of a referendum vote for a proposed military-backed constitution that had already won overwhelming support and is largely considered a sham by the international community. One provision would prohibit Suu Kyi from holding public office. The military refused to accept the results of a general election in 1990 won by her party.

Suu Kyi has lived under house arrest for about 12 of the past 18 years for leading an internationally hailed movement for democracy in Myanmar, which has been ruled by the military with an iron fist since 1962.

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/05/25/news/Myanmar-Suu-Kyi-Deadline.php

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

May 26, 2008 at 7:14 am

World Focus on Burma (26 May 08)

with 2 comments

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Burma political prisoner set to be released
Washington Times, DC –
Mrs. Suu Kyi has always been able to walk out of her home if she agrees to leave Burma. The military junta most likely would never allow her to return, …
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Suu Kyi Amid Burma’s Cyclone
Scoop.co.nz, New Zealand –
If she left Burma, however, the junta would most likely never allow her to return, which is why she did not attend the funeral in England when her husband, …
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Myanmar, even the well-off need cyclone aid
Khaleej Times, United Arab Emirates –
DENONGHO, Myanmar – Before Cyclone Nargis swept through Myanmar three weeks ago, farmer Saw Htu was considered to be relatively well-off, with 200 buffaloes …
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US dismayed over Myanmar vote
Khaleej Times, United Arab Emirates –
“The United States joined other donors in stressing the urgency and importance of the Burmese (Myanmar) regime’s implementation of its recent commitment to …

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How to help with disasters
GoErie.com, PA –
Even the despicable military junta that rules Myanmar (Burma) is finally allowing aid and workers to enter that country. The Chinese government is eager for …
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Myanmar urged not to alienate cyclone orphans
Reuters –
YANGON (Reuters) – The United Nations children’s agency (UNICEF) is trying to convince army-ruled Myanmar not to place at least 2000 youngsters orphaned by …
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PR-Inside.com (Pressemitteilung)
Donors ask Myanmar to let in aid workers
Houston Chronicle –
By SETH MYDANS BANGKOK, THAILAND – Delegates from 52 donor nations, meeting Sunday in Myanmar, pressed its government to make good on a promise to give foreign aid workers free access to millions of isolated cyclone survivors.
Burma’s Suu Kyi due for release Radio Australia
Burma asks for $11bn to rebuild The Australian
guardian.co.ukInquirer.netScoop.co.nzWashington Times
all 337 news articles »

KOMO
Aid groups ready to test Myanmar on access
AFP –
Once known as Burma and now one of the most isolated countries on the planet, Myanmar has often reneged on its commitments — but nations at the conference Sunday warned they would push the junta to get aid workers in.
Myanmar Cyclone Aid Meeting Builds Trust With Junta, Ban Says Bloomberg
UN chief ends Myanmar mission; says he hopes junta will honor … International Herald Tribune
Wall Street JournalReutersNew York TimesAljazeera.net
all 6,145 news articles »

Times Online
Aid Pledged to Burma If Workers Get Access
Washington Post –
By Amy Kazmin BANGKOK, May 25 — Donor nations on Sunday promised military-ruled Burma a significant increase in financial support for survivors of Tropical Cyclone Nargis if the junta keeps its pledge to allow aid workers “unhindered access” to the …
Donors urge Burma to live up to commitments CTV.ca
Burma aid donors link cash to access to stricken delta guardian.co.uk
Times OnlineDeutsche WelleSydney Morning HeraldCTV.ca
all 947 news articles »

kjrh.com
Open up if you want more cyclone aid, Myanmar told
Reuters India –
“The Myanmar authorities must turn promises into action. The eyes of the world are watching,” British development minister Douglas Alexander said after a landmark aid conference in the former Burma, under army rule for the last 46 years.
US sets conditions for aid, calls for unhindered access to Myanmar Jerusalem Post
US sets condition for aid in Myanmar Zee News
International Herald TribuneReutersThe Associated Press
all 310 news articles »

Javno.hr
Chinese FM meets Myanmar PM, UN chief
Xinhua –
YANGON, May 25 (Xinhua) — Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi met with Myanmar Prime Minister General Thein Sein and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon separately in Yangon on Sunday on the sidelines of an international pledging conference …
Myanmar hosts cyclone aid meeting Aljazeera.net
UN chief Ban Ki-moon says donor conference marks “turning point … CNN International
TODAYonlineBru DirectXinhuaXinhua
all 156 news articles »

The Observer
Australia to monitor its $25m Burma aid
Sydney Morning Herald –
“Hundreds of thousands of citizens of Myanmar (Burma) are still at risk,” he said. The United Nations has estimated that more than 2.4 million people, largely in the Irrawaddy delta region, are at risk, with some 70 per cent of those affected by the …
Australia to attend Burma donors’ meeting ABC Online
McMullan to travel to Burma The Age
NEWS.com.auUnited Press International, AsiaThe ObserverSydney Morning Herald
all 72 news articles »

The Southern Ledger
Angry France diverts Myanmar aid to Thailand
Reuters –
PARIS (Reuters) – The French navy has given up the idea of trying to deliver humanitarian aid directly to Myanmar and will instead divert its cargo to neighboring Thailand, the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.
France may push for UN resolution on Myanmar aid The Associated Press
France to seek UN resolution on aid deliveries if Myanmar doesn’t … International Herald Tribune
WeatherOnlinePRESS TV
all 95 news articles »

The Irrawaddy News Magazine
Burma banks on $11b
Melbourne Herald Sun –
Burma’s leadership has kept all but a handful of foreigners out of the disaster zone, hampering relief efforts since the May 2-3 tragedy.
International donors meeting in Burma Radio Australia
Burma considering letting in foreign help NEWS.com.au
Bangkok PostDaily NationInquirer.netAmerican Chronicle
all 132 news articles »

Thai News Agency MCOT
Fire at Myanmar’s Thai embassy
Aljazeera.net –
International aid workers in Thailand waiting to get into Myanmar have seen their visa applications go up in smoke after a fire at the Myanmar embassy. No one was hurt in the Monday morning fire in a busy business district of the Thai capital, Bangkok, …
UN head opens air hub of assistance for Myanmar China Daily
Thai aid base will save lives in Burma: Ban ABC Online
Yahoo! NewsAsia Times OnlineChina PostThai News Agency MCOT
all 25 news articles »

The Irrawaddy News Magazine
Fire erupts at Burma embassy in Bangkok
USA Today –
BANGKOK (AP) – A fire broke out in the main building of the Burma embassy in the Thai capital Monday. Four fire engines rushed to the embassy as plumes of smoke rose from inside the walled compound, located in a busy business district of Bangkok.
Fire destroys floor at Myanmar embassy compound in Thai capital … International Herald Tribune
all 26 news articles »
ICRC chief blasts Myanmar junta
Swissinfo –
The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross has condemned Myanmar’s military regime for stonewalling aid to its country’s beleaguered citizens.
Relief groups ready to step up Myanmar aid The Associated Press
UN says it is ready to step up aid to Myanmar once it gets details … Malaysia Star
ReliefWeb (press release)ReliefWeb (press release)
all 53 news articles »

EiTB

The Associated Press
Donors pledging Myanmar cyclone aid
The Associated Press –
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) – Donor nations said they were ready to provide Myanmar with more than $100 million to help it recover from Cyclone Nargis, but warned the ruling junta Sunday they will not fully open their wallets until they are provided access to …
Donors press Burma on allowing aid workers
Boston Globe –
Ban offered no details, according to international news agencies that were permitted to accompany him in Burma, which has otherwise barred entry to foreign journalists.
The Sangha, the hope for change in Myanmar
Jakarta Post –
In Myanmar (formerly Burma), Buddhist monks, also collectively known as the Sangha, are not living a secluded life in quiet monasteries, unaware of events occurring in the outside world.
Aust committed to Burma relief effort
ABC Online –
“Australia’s expressed its views about the regime in Myanmar (Burma) and the Foreign Minister’s expressed our views about the referendum and the process and the constitution,” Mr McMullan said.

Euronews.net
Aid offered but concerns remain over Myanmar
Euronews.net –
British International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander said: “We’ve not taken any options off the table, but the burden of responsibility rests with the government here in Burma (now Myanmar). It is clear that the international community has …
The West and Burma
Bangkok Post –
Such articles are a starting point for achieving progress in Burma. Eagleman writes: ”A poor Burma will never end the internal unrest and ethnic troubles.
30-man med team, 13 tons of relief goods off to Burma
Inquirer.net –
… Philippines—A Philippine Air Force (PAF) C-130 plane will fly to Rangoon (Yangon) on Monday carrying Filipino medical workers and relief goods for thousands of families displaced by powerful Cyclone Nargis which hit Burma (Myanmar) three weeks ago.

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

May 26, 2008 at 6:24 am

Burma: Cyclone updated top news (26 May 2008)

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United Nations chief ends Myanmar mission

By JOHN HEILPRIN, Associated Press Writer

YANGON, Myanmar – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon headed back to New York on Monday, saying he hoped Myanmar’s military regime would honor its promise to open up cyclone-devastated areas of the country to foreign aid workers.

Ban’s mission to knock down Myanmar‘s barriers to international cyclone assistance climaxed Sunday when donor nations offered more than $100 million to help the country recover from Cyclone Nargis.

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Times Now.tv

Donors ask Myanmar to let in aid workers

Houston Chronicle –
By SETH MYDANS BANGKOK, THAILAND – Delegates from 52 donor nations, meeting Sunday in Myanmar, pressed its government to make good on a promise to give foreign aid workers free access to millions of isolated cyclone survivors.
Burma asks for $11bn to rebuild The Australian
Burma aid: Conference pledges millions of pounds to help cyclone … guardian.co.uk
BloombergVoice of AmericaMizzima.comOttawa Citizen
all 358 news articles »


StarPhoenix

UN chief ends Myanmar mission; says he hopes junta will honor …

International Herald Tribune –
AP YANGON, Myanmar: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon headed back Monday to New York, saying he hoped Myanmar’s military regime would honor its promise to open up cyclone-devastated areas of the country to foreign aid workers.
Weeks After Cyclone in Myanmar, Even Farmers Wait for Food New York Times
Donors pledge cyclone aid at Myanmar conference The Associated Press
XinhuaThe Gazette (Montreal)Washington PostNew York Times
all 6,042 news articles »


Sunday Mail

Donors urge Burma to live up to commitments

CTV.ca –
Donor nations urged Burma to live up to its commitment to admit all foreign relief workers and allow them to carry out an independent assessment of the damage caused by Cyclone Nargis.
Burma aid donors link cash to access to stricken delta guardian.co.uk
Burma Access Issue Stops Donors Making More Aid Pledges Deutsche Welle
Toronto StarWashington PostBangkok PostCTV.ca
all 982 news articles »

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Donors pledging Myanmar cyclone aid

AP –

Cyclone survivors are receiving biscuit donated by volunteers at a monastery in Twante town, around 50 km southwest of Yangon, Sunday, May 25, 2008.  (AP Photo)

AP Photo: Cyclone survivors are receiving biscuit donated by volunteers at a monastery in Twante town, around…

YANGON, Myanmar – Donor nations said they were ready to provide Myanmar with more than $100 million to help it recover from Cyclone Nargis, but warned the ruling junta Sunday they will not fully open their wallets until they are provided access to the hardest-hit areas.

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KLEW

Aid workers ready for action after Myanmar promise

Reuters –
By Aung Hla Tun YANGON (Reuters) – Foreign aid workers were heading for the cyclone-ravaged Irrawaddy delta on Monday to see whether army-ruled Myanmar will honour a promise made by its top general to give them freedom of movement.
International Donors Meet To Pledge Aid for Myanmar Wall Street Journal
Weeks After Cyclone in Myanmar, Even Farmers Wait for Food New York Times
Monsters and Critics.comInternational Herald TribuneCNN InternationalAljazeera.net
all 6,226 news articles »

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RTE.ie

Aid Pledged to Burma If Workers Get Access

Washington Post –
By Amy Kazmin BANGKOK, May 25 — Donor nations on Sunday promised military-ruled Burma a significant increase in financial support for survivors of Tropical Cyclone Nargis if the junta keeps its pledge to allow aid workers “unhindered access” to the …
Donors urge Burma to live up to commitments CTV.ca
Burma aid donors link cash to access to stricken delta guardian.co.uk
Times OnlineDeutsche WelleSydney Morning HeraldCTV.ca
all 947 news articles »

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Boston Globe

Open up if you want more cyclone aid, Myanmar told

Reuters India –
“The Myanmar authorities must turn promises into action. The eyes of the world are watching,” British development minister Douglas Alexander said after a landmark aid conference in the former Burma, under army rule for the last 46 years.
US sets conditions for aid, calls for unhindered access to Myanmar Jerusalem Post
US sets condition for aid in Myanmar Zee News
International Herald TribuneReutersThe Associated Press
all 310 news articles »

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

May 26, 2008 at 5:59 am