Save Burma

အာဏာရွင္စနစ္ က်ဆံုးမွ တတိုင္းျပည္လံုး စစ္မွန္တဲ့ ဒီမိုကေရစီကို ခံစားရမယ္

Archive for June 2nd, 2008

Than Shwe’s Days Are Numbered

leave a comment »

Than Shwe’s Days Are Numbered

Monday, June 2, 2008

Burma’s military leader, Snr-Gen Than Shwe, has been accused of committing a “crime against humanity,” as evidence mounts that his refusal to allow a meaningful relief effort in the cyclone-stricken Irrawaddy delta has put hundreds of thousands of lives at risk.

A month after Cyclone Nargis slammed into Burma, relief supplies are still not reaching large numbers of survivors. Meanwhile, there are reports that many of those who have received some assistance are already being told to leave their temporary shelters and return to their flattened villages. On Friday, United Nations officials confirmed that refugees were being evicted from government-run camps.

The decision to essentially abort the relief mission before it has barely had a chance to begin comes straight from Than Shwe, who rules from his distant capital, Naypyidaw.

Recently, the senior leader held a cabinet meeting and reportedly told ministers and army leaders that the Tatmadaw, or armed forces, could handle the crisis in the delta on its own. Some senior leaders who wanted to accept more international aid were said to have been disappointed by Than Shwe’s stubborn resistance to the idea.

After the cabinet meeting, a rumor spread among Burmese suggesting that some of Than Shwe’s loyal ministers and family members held a ceremony to pay their respects to his leadership, praising him for his decision to move the capital to Naypyidaw, far beyond the range of the cyclone.

The unexplained decision to shift the capital to central Burma in 2005 may have spared Than Shwe and his family from the deadly storm, but it won’t save him from the consequences of his failure to do anything about the devastation in the delta.

Because Cyclone Nargis struck an area known as Burma’s “rice bowl,” the economic impact of the disaster will eventually reach every corner of the country. As poverty deepens and infectious diseases spread beyond the delta, the consequences for the country will be dire.

A month after the cyclone, it is not Than Shwe who is saving lives. Burma’s monks, activists, civil society groups, local NGOs and even celebrities are reaching out to refugees with food, relief supplies and money. They are the heroes of Burma.

People from as far away as Shan and Kachin States are traveling to the delta to help. Exiled Burmese groups are raising funds to support independent relief groups. Churches and temples are working together to help refugees. Thai and Burmese medical workers coordinate their efforts to deliver relief supplies and paddy seeds to farmers.

Meanwhile, the regime’s mouthpiece newspapers are telling farmers to be self-reliant by foraging on water cloves and frogs. People in the rest of the world can only shake their heads and wonder what the generals are thinking.

Listen to US Defense Secretary Robert Gates: “It’s not been us that have been deaf and dumb in response to the pleas of the international community, but the government of Myanmar [Burma]. We have reached out; they have kept their hands in their pockets.”

Gates, who was speaking at the Asia Security Summit, which was held in Singapore from May 30 to June 1, expressed his frustration over the regime’s refusal to allow relief missions into Burma. US, French and British naval vessels were waiting near Burmese waters to deliver aid to the delta but were not allowed in.

Now France has withdrawn its ships, and the US has indicated that it will do the same soon if it cannot obtain permission to enter Burma.

Recently the international media reported that the regime had approved all pending visas for UN aid workers. But this doesn’t mean that the devastated country will soon be crawling with hundreds or thousands of competent, compassionate and fully equipped aid workers. The actual number of pending visas was 45.

And here’s more “good” news: Save the Children, Medecins sans Frontieres and the United Nations Children’s Fund have just sent in another 14 aid workers.

Than Shwe is now clearly committing humanitarian crimes. It is time for Burma’s democratic forces inside and outside the country to think of a better strategy to remove the Than Shwe regime. They have to show that there is an alternative to Than Shwe.

The international community and neighboring countries must also continue to pressure the regime and help refugees in the delta. They must speak with one united voice. The Than Shwe regime is not sustainable.

Without Than Shwe, we will be able to save many lives and rebuild a new Burma.

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

June 2, 2008 at 4:18 pm

CHRONOLOGY-A month on, cyclone-hit Myanmar struggling

leave a comment »

Mon Jun 2, 2008 8:34am EDT

(For related story see MYANAMR-CYCLONE/ or [ID:nBKK316740])

June 2 (Reuters) – A month after Cyclone Nargis struck army-ruled Myanmar, up to 2.4 million people are struggling to rebuild their lives. Here are key developments since the devastating cyclone hit the southeast Asian nation of 57 million people.

* May 2/3, 2008: Cyclone Nargis rips through the rice-growing Irrawaddy delta and former capital, Yangon, smashing homes and flattening trees with 120 mph (190 kph) winds and a 12 ft (3.5 metre) sea surge.

* May 5: As Myanmar state TV raises the death toll to nearly 4,000, U.S. First Lady Laura Bush criticises the junta for a slow response and urges it to accept U.S. offers of aid.

* May 6: First outside aid, a Thai military plane carrying food and medicine, arrives.

* May 7: France suggests invoking a U.N. “responsibility to protect” clause to get aid to cyclone victims without junta approval. Other countries dismiss the idea despite mounting frustration with the generals’ response to the disaster.

* May 9: Myanmar says it will accept foreign aid but not foreign rescue workers. U.N. appeals for $187 million in aid.

* May 10: Junta goes ahead with referendum in most of the country on an army-drafted constitution that it sees as a key step in a seven-step “roadmap to democracy”.

* May 12: First U.S. military flight lands in Yangon. The following day Myanmar rejects U.S. offers to distribute the aid.

* May 15: U.N. raises its estimate for the number of severely affected people from 1.5 million to between 1.6-2.5 million.

* May 16 : Myanmar state television raises official toll to 77,738 dead and 55,917 missing.

* May 20: Three days of mourning start for the 134,000 dead or missing. World Bank says it can’t give financial aid as Myanmar has not been repaying its debt since 1998.

* May 21: Myanmar says it wants more than $11 billion in aid for victims ahead of a donor conference.

* May 22: U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrives on humanitarian mission. Junta supremo Than Shwe promises him “all” aid workers will be allowed in.

* May 24: Constitutional referendum held in Yangon and the delta. The junta quickly announces that the charter has passed with 92.5 percent support on a 98.1 percent turnout.

* May 25: More than 50 countries pledge nearly $50 million at U.N.-organised donor conference in Yangon.

* May 27: Junta extends house arrest of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi for another year.

* May 30: Authorities begin evicting destitute families from government-run cyclone relief camps, apparently fearing the ‘tented villages’ may become permanent.

Source: Reuters (Writing by Gillian Murdoch, Beijing Editorial Reference Unit; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

June 2, 2008 at 3:25 pm

World focus on Burma (2 June 2008)

leave a comment »

Latest news on the disaster in Myanmar (Burma)New!

Support the victims of the cyclone in Myanmar (Burma)New!


Junta’s ‘approved constitution,’ another proof of flawed ‘road map …, India –
… the New Light of Myanmar, on Monday said, the overwhelming support to the junta’s draft constitution in a referendum reveals that people in Burma …

A breach in the wall?

Hindustan Times, India –
While its close ally Myanmar banned journalists from its cyclone-ravaged countryside, China let the media into quake zones and its foreign ministry …

Myanmar reopens schools 1 month after cyclone

The Associated Press –
The regime in Myanmar, also known as Burma, has been criticized for its storm response, with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates saying the government had …

Burmese Still Without Aid a Month After Storm, NY –
After the storm, which hit Burma earlier this month, the military junta that rules the country with an iron fist received worldwide condemnation for not …

‘It looked like what we saw after the tsunami’

ReliefWeb (press release), Switzerland –
The people here refer to it as “The Storm.” It’s amazing; Cyclone Nargis was one of the most devastating cyclones in years, but the people here just call it …

Community-based organisations provide ongoing relief in Burma

ReliefWeb (press release), Switzerland –
‘Under difficult conditions, the Government of Burma and the people have put together a functioning relief program, together with the international …

New school year brings fresh fear for Myanmar children

ReliefWeb (press release), Switzerland –
Hundreds of thousands of children in Myanmar face new dangers as the new school year begins and they return to buildings ravaged by Cyclone Nargis. …

Myanmar: Judging the generals’ cyclone response

The Week Daily –
Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Sunday accused the military leaders of Myanmar, also known as Burma, of “criminal neglect” for blocking massive aid …

Government restrictions hampers aid efforts: WFP, India –
The WFP, which has been supplying aid to the cyclone victims, said it has nine more helicopters in Bangkok, awaiting permission from Burma’s military …

One Month After Cyclone, More than 2 Million Still At Risk

Daily Green –
Children walk past a destroyed hut near Yangon, Myanmar, after receiving food from a Buddhist monastery. June 1, 2008 By Dan Shapley With more than 2 …

Films planned to raise funds for cyclone victims

Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
“Six directors – Mee Pwar, Mike Tee, Kyaw Zaw Linn, Maung Thi, Ko Zaw (Aryoneoo) and Nyunt Myanmar Nyi Nyi Aung – will be in charge of making the films. …

MIAMI HERALD: Burma’s rulers sink to new low

Belleville News Democrat, USA –
In appalling display of contempt for international public opinion and their own people, the generals who rule Burma have extended for one year the house …

Is God a Cosmic Monster?

Rutherford Institute, VA –
CS Lewis In Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, the death toll from a killer cyclone stands at 78000, with 56000 people still missing. …

UN rights chief says long-standing tolerance of Myanmar abuses … (Pressemitteilung), Austria –
AP GENEVA (AP) – The world’s long record of tolerating human rights abuses in Myanmar allowed the country’s government to obstruct international aid in the …

Soaring prices compound Burma’s cyclone misery

Mail & Guardian Online, South Africa –
A large “Happy World” sign hangs above a dilapidated food market in Rangoon, Burma, but on the streets shoppers are far from content. …

MYANMAR: Humanitarian air bridge up and running, NY –
… slammed into Myanmar on 2 and 3 May. “The airport is our air bridge into Burma,” Paul Risley a spokesman for the World Food Programme (WFP), …

Some Cyclone Survivors

Wall Street Journal –
By KRISHNA POKHAREL Myanmar opened its schools on the first day of a new academic year, in an effort to regain a sense of normalcy one month after the …

Than Shwe’s Days Are Numbered

The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
… Gates: “It’s not been us that have been deaf and dumb in response to the pleas of the international community, but the government of Myanmar [Burma]. …

Schools reopen in Myanmar’s cyclone zone

Jerusalem Post, Israel –
1 on Monday for the first day of classes since Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar a month ago, all eyes stared skyward – at the gaping hole in the roof. …

Boycott Burma: To go or not to go?

Independent, UK –
In point of fact, her call for a boycott of travel to Burma only related to the ‘Visit Myanmar Year 1996’ and both in statements at the time and …

US accuses Burma of criminal neglect, UK –
But Hakan Tongual, the deputy director of the UN’s world food programme in Burma, told Reuters at least 200000 people had received no help while 500000 …

Bangladesh-Myanmar road planned

United Press International –
The Daily Star report said the highway will begin at Balukhali in Cox’s Bazar and terminate at Bawlibazar in Rakhain state in Myanmar, formerly called Burma …

‘Urgent work’ needed to save Burma cyclone victims: UN

ABC Online, Australia –
A month after Burma’s cyclone left 133000 people dead or missing, the UN’s food agency chief has warned that “urgent work” is needed to help hundreds of …

Burma junta ‘put children in danger by re-opening schools’, United Kingdom –
By Damien McElroy, Foreign Affairs Correspondent Burma’s military regime has been accused of putting more of its citizens in danger after re-opening schools …

World Refugee Sunday to rouse church conscience on refugee issues

ChristianToday, UK –
“In light of the hundreds of thousands of displaced peoples in just Myanmar (Burma) and China alone over the past few months, it seems very appropriate to …

Journalists risk death to get disaster coverage of Burma to the world

Toronto Star, Canada –
… ensure the safety of its underground journalists, DVB cannot confirm or deny whether any of them have been arrested inside Burma, also known as Myanmar. …

Myanmar activist wins Anna Lindh Prize

Monsters and –
Khin Ohmar, a former student activist, has lived in exile for the past 20 years and is currently based in Thailand where she is active in the Burma …

Myanmar reopens schools 1 month after cyclone

The Associated Press –
Foreign aid workers say the regime in Myanmar, also known as Burma, is still dragging its feet on allowing quick and full access to survivors of the …

Junta defends their relief as ‘prompt’, India –
AP Myanmar’s military government reopened schools on Monday in several areas still reeling from a catastrophic cyclone, a move international aid groups said …

Burma at beginning of “very nasty end game”, UK –
Military rule in Burma is beginning to unravel, with the start of a “very nasty end game” now being witnessed in the country, it has been claimed. …

Myanmar accused of “criminal neglect”

Seattle Times, United States –
In the strongest remarks yet by a high-ranking US official, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday that Myanmar was guilty of “criminal neglect” for …

Pentagon chief Gates rules out forcing aid on Myanmar

Los Angeles Times, CA –
… which carry 22 heavy-lift helicopters, but the American aircraft have been barred by the military rulers of Myanmar, also known as Burma. …

Burma WWII veterans renew ties

Greenwich Time, CT –
Thanks to the heroics of a few thousand volunteer American troops dubbed “Merrill’s Marauders,” parts of Burma – now called Myanmar – were recaptured, …

Burma condemned as schools reopen

The Press Association –
A British aid group condemned Burma’s military government for reopening schools on Monday in several areas still reeling from the catastrophic cyclone. …

Myanmar victims ‘forced to return’, Qatar –
The Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), a Norway-based media organisation run by Myanmar exiles, showed survivors saying that they had no choice but to move. …

Cyclone assist

Brownsville Herald, TX United States –
Top generals in Myanmar’s (formerly Burma) military government have been reluctant to allow disaster relief supplies, foreign aid workers or medical …

Cyclone-hit Myanmar struggles to grow rice, UK –
… the main rice crop in the delta, the “rice bowl of the Asia” in the days when Myanmar was called Burma and administered as part of the British empire. …

Monday’s 6minutes new blog

6minutes, Australia –
CAIRNS GP Dr Dion Dewar managed to sneak in to Burma with 20kg of emergency relief after Cyclone Nargis, the Cairns Post reports. After caring for victims …

Burma’s continued suffering

Charleston Post Courier, SC –
With the utmost ill grace, Burma’s military despots are at last allowing the outside world to aid the millions of Burmese people still in peril after the …

Gates accuses Myanmar of ‘criminal neglect’

Austin American-Statesman, TX –
But despite the rising anger and frustration with Myanmar’s military leaders, Gates said that defense ministers meeting in Singapore over the weekend had …

Refusing aid ‘is criminal neglect’

The Mercury (subscription), South Africa –
BANGKOK: More people would perish in Myanmar’s cyclone disaster zone unless the regime lifted restrictions on foreign aid, United States defence secretary …

Gates Sees Little Hope of Delivering Aid to Burma

New York Sun, United States –
Speaking ahead of meetings here with Prime Minister Samak of Thailand, Mr. Gates said that most aid being delivered Burma’s main city, Yangon, …

Burma’s dictators guilty of genocide

San Jose Mercury News, USA –
By Joel Brinkley A man carries a small bag of food in Burma, also known as Myanmar. Very little aid has reached survivors of Cyclone Nargis.

When disaster and foreign policy mix—Marites Danguilan Vitug

ABS CBN News, Philippines –
He said that the US worked rapidly to deliver relief but Burma disapproved “at a cost of tens of thousands of lives.” In similar instances, Indonesia agreed …

The Tyranny of the Com

Sify, India –
Of course, in terms of ‘Com’, Burma (or Myanmar as the dictators have decided to call the battered nation) continued to be in the news for a few weeks. …

Burma ‘Refusing Aid.. Still’

RedOrbit, TX –
In a scathing attack, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said Burma had been “deaf and dumb” to the offers of international help, as British and American aid …

Myanmar minister sticks to ‘no strings’ refrainas donor nations fume

TODAYonline, Singapore –
HE APPEARED at the Shangri-La Hotel yesterday to give an update on Myanmar’s recovery efforts in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, which tore through the …

More to die if Myanmar doesn’t change approach

The Post, Pakistan –
BANGKOK: More people will perish in Myanmar’s cyclone disaster zone unless the regime lifts restrictions on foreign aid, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates …

Relief Aid Denied by Myanmar: Accusations of “Criminal Neglect”, NY –
Myanmar’s failure to provide aid and refusal to accept international aid to assist victims of a disastrous cyclone that left at least 135000 people dead or …

Rebuffed US ships ready to leave Myanmar coast

Malaysia Sun, Malaysia –
The United States likely will decide “within days” to move four US Navy ships that have been waiting off the coast of Myanmar for permission from the …

CrisisWatch N°58, 1 June 2008

International Crisis Group, Belgium –
Myanmar/Burma was left devastated by a massive cyclone and the military government’s heavily criticised response. The latest official death toll is 78000 …

Defying all odds: local doctors travel to Myanmar to help cyclone …

Monitor, TX –
… Baptist Family Practice Residency Program, and private physician Dr. Edward Oorjitham traveled to Myanmar – formerly known as Burma – with Tulsa, Okla. …

Burma: Let’s Roll

Washington Post –
So we’re still waiting for permission to bring large-scale aid to Burma [“Let Them Eat Frogs,” editorial, May 30].

Japanese NGOs pledge special assistance for 10000 worst-hit …

Xinhua –
YANGON, June 2 (Xinhua) — Three Japanese non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have pledged a special assistance for 10000 selected cyclone-hit Myanmar households who are in worst need of food and resettlement, the local Flower News reported Monday.

Sikh NGO to send relief shipment to Myanmar

Times of India –
JALANDHAR: As some Sikh organizations have started serving langar to the victims of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, United Sikhs, the NGO that has joined hands with Yangon Sikh Gurdwara and Buddhist Maha Vihara in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, …


Mail & Guardian Online

Amid aid delays, locals in Burma (Myanmar) rebuild

Christian Science Monitor –
By a correspondent Rangoon, Burma – Flying home, Burmese sailors are awestruck when they see the Irrawaddy Delta below them.
Canberra urged to uphold vow to act on Burma crimes The Age
David Cameron: If the generals will not let in the aid, they must … Independent
ABC Online
all 6 news articles »


Gulf Times

Minneapolis Star Tribune –
BANGKOK, THAILAND – US Defense Secretary Robert Gates painted a bleak picture Sunday of the prospects for delivering international aid to villagers in Myanmar’s devastated Irrawaddy River delta, saying he probably was just days away from ordering a US …
Myanmar policy cost lives: USA The Statesman
Gates: Obstructed efforts in Myanmar cost lives The Associated Press
Philadelphia InquirerAFPThe Associated PressThe Associated Press
all 696 news articles »

ASEAN wants to do more for Burma’s cyclone victims

Radio Australia –
Malaysia’s deputy prime minister says the disaster caused by Cyclone Nargis in Burma has the potential to be worse than the Indian Ocean tsunami, and demanded a bigger role for Southeast Asian nations in the relief work.
Malaysia to Burma: Allow S. Asian militaries to help USA Today
Malaysia wants bigger ASEAN role in Myanmar relief Reuters
XinhuaInternational Herald TribuneNew Straits TimesPakistan Observer
all 33 news articles »

Indonesia sends medical assistance to Myanmar

Xinhua –
JAKARTA, June 1 (Xinhua) — The Indonesian government on Sunday sent medical assistance to Myanmar to help the victims of the cyclone Nagris in the country, head of crisis center of the Indonesian Health Ministry Rustam Pakaya said here.

Washington Post –
Burma’s rulers “have kept their hands in their pockets” while other countries sought to help cyclone victims, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Saturday, branding the military government as “deaf and dumb” for obstructing aid efforts.

To boost tourism in the region, Thailand and the Philippines……… (Pressemitteilung), Austria –
… Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar (Burma), the Philippines and Thailand. But Thailand is the region’s top tourist destination, …

UN Health Agency Seeks $28 Million To Help Cyclone Survivors In …

The cyclone destroyed about half of the health-care system in the delta and Yangon of Myanmar, also known as Burma.

Devastation in China, Burma

Anglican Journal, Canada –
The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) is accepting donations to help Burma (also known as Myanmar), which was devastated by a cyclone on …

United Press International –
Gates said the stance of top officials in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, was placing the lives of countless citizens in danger following this spring’s …

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

June 2, 2008 at 4:40 am