Save Burma

အာဏာရွင္စနစ္ က်ဆံုးမွ တတိုင္းျပည္လံုး စစ္မွန္တဲ့ ဒီမိုကေရစီကို ခံစားရမယ္

Posts Tagged ‘Mother

World focus on Burma (27 December 2008)

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Highlights of 2008
WalesOnline, United Kingdom –
More than 50 arrests follow demonstrations against China’s crackdown on human rights in Tibet as the Olympic Flame is carried through London amidst calls …

Monks & Football
Outlook, India –
(Forty-two years later, in 1988, his daughter Aung San Suu Kyi too would address an enormous crowd here, demanding democracy from the military regime. …

3 Quakes Force Mass Evacuation in China
Sofia News Agency, Bulgaria –
A tremor measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale struck near Ruili, a town on the China-Burma border late on Friday. The quake reportedly destroyed the city …

Maternal Health Problems In Burma Widespread
Medical News Today (press release), UK –
The maternal health care issues facing women in eastern Burma (also known as Myanmar) are widespread and underreported, according to surveys by researchers …

Big stories of 2008
Weekend Post, South Africa –
Burma, also known as Myanmar, looked like a war zone after Cyclone Nargis hit the Southeast Asian country on May 2. Some 146000 died and many thousands are …



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Written by Lwin Aung Soe

December 28, 2008 at 5:22 pm

Poor maternal health care widespread in eastern Burma

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Public release date: 22-Dec-2008

Contact: Andrew Hyde
press@plos.org
44-122-346-3330
Public Library of Science

Poor maternal health care widespread in eastern Burma

Press release from PLoS Medicine

Access to maternal health-care is extremely limited and poor nutrition, anemia and malaria are widespread in eastern Burma, which increases the risk of pregnancy complications, says new research published in the open access journal PLoS Medicine. Human rights violations—such as displacement and forced labur—are also widely present, and in some communities forced relocation doubled the risk of women developing anemia and greatly decreased their chances of receiving any antenatal care.

Luke Mullany and colleagues from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA and the Burma Medical Association surveyed 3000 women along the Eastern Burmese border as part of a baseline assessment of women’s needs for their Mobile Obstetric Maternal Health Workers (MOM) Project, which was set up in collaboration with a health worker training clinic in Thailand called Mae Tao Clinic. They also conducted health assessments. Nearly 90% of the women reported a home delivery for their last baby, a skilled attendant was present at only 5% of births, and only a third of women had any antenatal or postnatal care, the authors report. Only a third of the women surveyed reported access to effective contraceptives.

Mullany and colleagues report that very few women had received iron supplements or had used insecticide-treated bednets, and consequently found that more than half the women were anemic and 7.2% were infected with malaria. Many women also showed signs of poor nutrition, the research says.

Frequency and types of human rights violations varied across the project sites in Eastern Burma. In the Karen region, more than 10% of household were forced to move, in the Karenni ceasefire region a third of women reported members of their household being forced to work, and in the Shan region many women reported forced labor, forced relocation, threats to food security, and direct attacks. In analyses looking at the relationship between human rights violation and maternal health, the authors found that the odds of receiving no antenatal care services were almost 6 times higher among those forcibly displaced.

The authors conclude that “coverage of basic maternal health interventions is woefully inadequate in these selected populations and substantially lower than even the national estimates for Burma, among the lowest in the region.” It is clear, the authors say, “that considerable political, financial, and human resources will be needed to improve maternal health in this region.”

In a commentary on the research article, Macaya Douoguih from the National Institutes of Health, USA (not involved in the study) says that the study provides “useful information on access to care and health indicators, which will help to prioritize unmet needs.” “There is no question that an increase in access to services is desperately needed to improve health in this region,” says Dr. Douoguih. “This study lays the foundation for an innovative community-based mobile health system that could greatly enhance the health of communities in eastern Burma.”

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Citation: Mullany LC, Lee CI, Yone L, Paw P, Oo EKS, et al. (2008) Access to essential maternal health interventions and human rights violations among vulnerable communities in eastern Burma. PLoS Med 5(12): e242. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050242

IN YOUR COVERAGE PLEASE USE THIS URL TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE FREELY AVAILABLE PAPER: http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0050242

PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-05-12-mullany.pdf

READ THE EDITORS’ SUMMARY OF THE PAPER: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-05-12-mullany-summary.pdf

CONTACT:
Luke C Mullany
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Department of International Health
615 N Wolfe Street, E8646
Baltimore, MD 21205
United States of America
+1 410-502-2626
lmullany@jhsph.edu

Related PLoS Medicine Perspective

Citation: Douoguih M (2008) Accessing maternal health services in eastern Burma. PLoS Med 5(12): e250. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050250

IN YOUR COVERAGE PLEASE USE THIS URL TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE FREELY AVAILABLE PAPER: http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0050250

PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-05-12-douoguih.pdf

CONTACT:
Macaya Douoguih
macaya1@gmail.com

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-12/plos-pmh121608.php

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Myanmar mothers have poor access to healthcare

Reuters, India

Tue Dec 23, 2008 8:00am IST

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Access to maternal healthcare in eastern Myanmar is inadequate and most expectant mothers suffer from poor nutrition, anemia and malaria, raising the risk of pregnancy complications, researchers said.

In an article in the medical journal PLoS Medicine, they said forced relocation doubled the risk of women developing anemia and greatly decreased their chances of receiving any antenatal care.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University in the United States and the Burma Medical Association surveyed 3,000 women along the border in eastern Myanmar and found that nearly 90 percent of them delivered their last baby at home.

“Coverage of basic maternal health interventions is woefully inadequate in these selected populations and substantially lower than even the national estimates for Burma, among the lowest in the region,” they wrote.

“Considerable political, financial and human resources will be needed to improve maternal health in this region.”

A skilled attendant, or midwife, was present at only five percent of births, and only a third of women had any antenatal or postnatal care, they said. Only a third of the women surveyed reported access to effective contraceptives.

Few women received iron supplements or used insecticide-treated bednets. Consequently more than half the women were anemic and 7.2 percent were infected with malaria. Many women showed signs of poor nutrition, they found.

They said human rights violations impacted greatly on women’s health. In the Karen region, more than 10 percent of households were forced to move, while in the Shan region many women reported forced labor, forced relocation, threats to food security, and direct attacks.

The odds of receiving no antenatal care services were almost six times higher among those forcibly displaced, it said.

(Reporting by Tan Ee Lyn; Editing by Sugita Katyal)

http://in.reuters.com/article/health/idINTRE4BM08W20081223


Health: Violence creates medical crisis for many, says report

New York , 22 Dec. (AKI) – Iraq, Pakistan, Burma and war-torn Sudan suffered some of the worst medical emergencies in the world during 2008, according to the humanitarian organisation, Medecins Sans Frontieres. In its annual ‘Top Ten’ list released in New York on Monday, MSF said forced displacement and violence had produced several humanitarian crises.

The report also pointed to the growing prevalence of HIV-tuberculosis infection and the critical need for increased global efforts to prevent and treat childhood malnutrition— the underlying cause of death for up to five million children per year.

“Working on the frontlines of crisis zones throughout the world, MSF medical teams witness first-hand the medical and psychological consequences people endure from extreme violence, displacement, and neglected—yet treatable—diseases,” said MSF International Council President Christophe Fournier.

“In some of these places, it is extremely difficult for aid groups to access populations requiring help. Where we are able to provide assistance, we have a special responsibility to bear witness and speak out about intolerable suffering and draw attention to basic humanitarian needs—needs that are often largely ignored.”

MSF said that many of the countries on this year’s list made it extremely difficult to deliver aid to the vulnerable and worst affected.

Aid organisations now operate with increased security risks and in generally more hazardous and threatening environments. In highly politicised and volatile conflicts such as those in Somalia, Pakistan, Sudan, and Iraq, MSF said it was limited in its ability to address immense medical needs.

The organisation said in places such as Myanmar and Zimbabwe — where governments fail to make health care a priority or view NGOs with suspicion—humanitarian organisations are limited in the type of assistance they can provide.

In Burma, where MSF is the main provider of HIV care, hundreds of thousands of people are needlessly dying due to a severe lack of AIDS services. It says 75,000 people currently need cures and therapies for the disease.

“The reality on the ground is that the humanitarian community is unable to do nearly enough for populations in grave need of medical assistance,” Fournier said.

“With the release of this list, we hope to focus much needed attention on the millions of people who are trapped in conflict and war, affected by medical crises, whose immediate and essential health needs are neglected, and whose plight often goes unnoticed.”

MSF began producing the ‘Top Ten’ list in 1998, when a devastating famine in southern Sudan went largely unreported in US media. Drawing on MSF’s emergency medical work, the list seeks to generate greater awareness of the magnitude and severity of crises that may or may not be reflected in media accounts.

http://www.adnkronos.com/AKI/English/Security/?id=3.0.2839394347


Written by Lwin Aung Soe

December 23, 2008 at 7:12 am

Posted in Varieties in English

Tagged with , , ,

World focus on Burma (23 December 2008)

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Ethnic militia accuses junta of forcing opium cultivation
Mizzima.com, India –
… fields in Mongsert and Mongtong area now,” said Khammwe, referring the Burmese junta by its official name – the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC).

Korean Government Rejects OECD Complaint Against Daewoo …
Earthrights.org, DC –
Moreover, the MKE opined that the general situation in Burma and specifically around the Shwe Project does not merit an investigation or arbitration between ..

TOR of Asean rights body done by July
Business Mirror, Philippines –
… atrocities against nationals of Asean members, including those being committed by the military junta in Burma, which the dictators are calling Myanmar. …

Health situation in Burma among top 10 worst humanitarian crises …
Independent Mon News Agency, WA –
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has included Burma in its 11th annual list of the world’s “Top Ten” humanitarian crises 2008, says a press released published …

Than Shwe and team to tour cyclone-hit Irrawaddy delta
Mizzima.com, India –
A source in Naypyitaw, Burma’s new jungle capital, said Than Shwe along with a team comprising Thura Shwe Mann, Prime Minister Thein Sein and secretary (1) …

Naypyidaw to Launch New Daily
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
In Burma, all media are controlled by the junta. The military government runs three Burmese-language daily newspapers—Rangoon-based Myanma Ahlin and Kyaymon …

Oxfam winds up tsunami relief work
Oxford Mail, UK –
The seven countries Oxfam provided relief in were Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Somalia, the Maldives and Myanmar (Burma). Of the money raised, …

Russia Urges Burma to Cooperate with UN
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
Last week, the UN said there was no immediate plan for Gambari to visit Burma in the near future. “He has no plans immediately to go to Myanmar [Burma],” …

Hundreds Illegally Trafficked Daily from Pakistan to Iran
The Media Line, NY –
… also used as a transit and target country for women and children from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Burma and former Soviet countries in Central Asia. …

Burma grounds its jumping cats
Toronto Star,  Canada –
Under foreign pressure, the military junta suspended Suu Kyi’s house arrest briefly in 2002. I flew to Rangoon for an interview at the dilapidated …

Doctors aid group lists top 10 humanitarian crises
Reuters South Africa, South Africa –
In Myanmar and Zimbabwe, MSF blamed the governments for failing to provide adequate health care or assist aid workers. “In Myanmar, where MSF is the main …

Sudan maintains defiance
Workers World –
Also: “Western policies in crisis regions as diverse as Georgia, Zimbabwe, Burma or the Balkans are suffering serial defeats. …

MSF Releases 11th annual list of ‘Top 10′ humanitarian crises
Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopia –
The international aid group MSF (Doctors Without Borders) has released its 11th annual list of ‘Top 10′ humanitarian crises. Ethiopia’s Ogaden region is on …

Remembering Burma’s Storm Victims
Voice of America –
The government severely restricted access of aid workers and foreign assistance to the affected areas in the aftermath of the cyclone disaster. …

Myanmar mothers have poor access to healthcare
Reuters India, India –
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University in the United States and the Burma Medical Association surveyed 3000 women along the border in eastern Myanmar and …

Retired buses find new lives in rural areas
Asahi Shimbun, Japan –
“In recent years, there have also been requests (for used buses) from Russia and Myanmar (Burma),” the dealer said. “We are now suspending exports due to …

New data regarding safety of artemisinin combination therapy for …
EurekAlert (press release), DC –
This trial was conducted on the Thai-Burmese border, an area where malaria transmission is low but highly drug-resistant, meaning that pregnant women who …

Poor maternal health care widespread in eastern Burma
EurekAlert (press release), DC –
Access to maternal health-care is extremely limited and poor nutrition, anemia and malaria are widespread in eastern Burma, which increases the risk of …

Medical aid charity has grim diagnosis on world’s humanitarian crises
Scotsman, United Kingdom –
By MICHAEL ASTOR SPIRALLING violence in Somalia, refugees fleeing violence in eastern Congo, and medical emergencies in Burma and Zimbabwe were among the …

Ticket Replay: Obama wants to be president of all 57 states
Los Angeles Times Blogs, CA –
(UPDATE: At a later stop Obama was talking with reporters and expressed concern he’d also mis-stated the number of potential cyclone victims in Burma. …

Thai cabinet line-up could anger Thaksin’s allies
Financial Times, UK –
Mr Kasit said he was hoping to reengage Burma in dialogue. “We will talk across the board on all issues,” he said. Asean last week adopted a new charter …

Malaysia purrs into action with plan to double rare tiger numbers
Scotsman, United Kingdom –

Substantial trade is done on the black markets – in China for skins and tiger bone wine, in Indonesia for bones, skins, claws and teeth, in Burma for tiger …

In Myanmar and Zimbabwe, MSF blamed the governments for failing to provide adequate health care or assist aid workers. “In Myanmar, where MSF is the main …

Somali violence tops catastrophe list
PRESS TV, Iran –

Leading the dire health conditions in Burma and Zimbabwe, the violence in the Horn of Africa nation topped the list which is annually published by the group …

US jury acquits oil giant in Nigerian deaths
FinalCall.com, IL –
It supports an arrogance and culture of abuse in Nigeria that is repeated in places like Ecuador, Burma and Angola, they insist. “What an American jury has ..

Nothing funny about Burma’s human rights record
The Canberra Times, Australia –
Zarganar joins Burma’s most famous political prisoner, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, in being incarcerated for actions that in any normal …

Czech-led EU must not fail freedom-seeking Burma again
Aktuálně.cz, Czech Republic –


Myanmar as a member of the group is perhaps most likely to listen to their voice. Besides they have signed up to the ASEAN Charter which includes provisions …

Health: Violence creates medical crisis for many, says report
Adnkronos International Italia, Italy –

(AKI) – Iraq, Pakistan, Burma and war-torn Sudan suffered some of the worst medical emergencies in the world during 2008, according to the humanitarian …

USDA members receive training in Naypyidaw
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
The member also said that 500 pairs of Buddhist monks’ robes and 500 bamboo sticks have been put aside in Taungoo district USDA office. …

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

December 23, 2008 at 7:00 am

A woman drowned while giving birth, her dead child half-born

From
May 11, 2008

A woman drowned while giving birth, her dead child half-born

As Burma’s junta blocks aid for the cyclone victims, one dreadful sight captures their suffering for Harry McKenzie in Bogale

Burma’s great Irrawaddy river runs flat and muddy. It twines and forks through miles of rich delta and has always given nurture and good fortune to the people of southern Burma.

But in the wake of last weekend’s cyclone, death and sickness have replaced the captivating beauty of this triangle of fertile land. A terrible sadness has settled in. In many places nothing moves, not a living thing – not even a thread of smoke from a village fire. It is deathly still.

The pinnacles of the pagodas that dot the landscape have toppled in the wind. Bodies float in the water like chunks of wood. Trees are down, houses are flattened and everywhere in the inundated rice fields of this devoutly Buddhist land there is an unbearable sense of loss.

With every hour that passes without the secretive Burmese military junta opening its doors to western aid workers, more people are dying. The junta has long been suspicious of the West, which enforces sanctions against it, and has snubbed American and other offers of help to avert further deaths.

Amid mounting international criticism of the rulers, there were stark warnings by such figures as Tim Costello, chief executive of World Vision Australia, of a disaster of “apocalyptic proportions” if water, food, shelter and medical care for the estimated 1.5m people hardest hit by the storm are blocked.

The suffering of the survivors is growing ever more acute as grief for vanished loved ones is compounded by desperation in the long wait for vital supplies.

“I have been looking for my wife and three daughters for six days,” said Tei Lin, a farmer in Bo Thin hamlet, moving ponderously through the stinking mud, a photograph of two of his daughters in his breast pocket.

Not far away San Po Thin described how before he blacked out he had seen a wave “as tall as a mountain” sweeping towards his village. Recovering consciousness later, he found his wife, son and two daughters had been snatched away. There was nothing left of his village except uprooted trees, heaps of rubble and swarms of hungry people.

“I have lost everything,” he repeated over and over. “There was nothing I could do. There was no warning.”

All week the toll was rising. Yesterday it was authoritatively estimated to have reached 116,000, making Cyclone Nargis the worst natural disaster to strike Burma in modern times, far worse than the 2004 tsunami, which by some miracle was said to have killed only 68 people in Burma, in contrast to the tens of thousands of deaths in neighbouring countries.

“I will be very surprised if it does not rise higher,” said Andrew Kirkwood, who has spent 13 years working for Save the Children in Burma. “The numbers are quite numbing.”

Yesterday Kirkwood set off by helicopter for a town on the coast south of Laputta to see if anyone was alive. Aerial photographs he had studied the night before showed it to be underwater, with some trees sticking out, but with no sign of life.

But there was also some good news. The first Save the Children boat, carrying 100 tons of fresh water, rice, sugar, salt, dried noodles and oral rehydration powder, was due to arrive at Haing Gyi, an island on the coast where at one point the United Nations feared 50,000 people had died. It later revised that figure downwards to 4,000 dead and 10,000 missing.

However, dysentery was reported to be taking a grip in parts of the delta and Costello and other aid specialists voiced fears that outbreaks of the disease were on the doorstep of Rangoon, the largest city.

A week after the cyclone, there was still no aid effort to match the scale of the disaster. Burma’s rulers made clear that, while they would accept international assistance, they would run the relief operation on their own, whatever the West said about their lack of logistical skills and resources.

To cap it all, they were pressing ahead yesterday with a referendum on an army-drafted charter for a new constitution, which critics dismissed as a device that would allow the junta to maintain the lion’s share of power.

The polling stations in Rangoon, where voters were said to 80% to 90% in favour of the army’s charter, seemed a world away from the villages I passed through on a journey to the delta, where people made the same persistent plea: “We have no rice. We have no fresh water. We have no medical supplies. Who is going to help us?”

Almost a week after the cyclone, villages in the stricken areas of Kungyangon and Dedaye said they had received just one government delivery, of a bag of rice per family and some soup. A single fresh-water truck arrived on Thursday; until then, most people had survived on coconut milk or whatever rain-water they could collect.

Leaving Rangoon on the road to Bogale, one of the worst-affected towns, soon revealed to me the scale of the crisis: petrol queues stretching for more than half a mile, with roadside touts charging up to US$12 (£6) a litre; huge trees upended like saplings; electricity and telephone wires hanging uselessly from their broken columns; advertising billboards, their placards ripped off, twisted like wire coat hangers; and huge piles of rubbish lining every street. A golf course was submerged and the driving range’s nets shredded.

Nearby, a well-built army base stood in almost pristine condition, with its corrugated iron roof only partially damaged.

“Everywhere is broken. But the army is not broken,” said my guide, a young man whose own home had been crushed.

Earlier, we had driven past the Rangoon correction centre where, in a show of the ruthlessness that characterised the crackdown on dissident monks last autumn, the army is said to have opened fire with machineguns on hundreds of prisoners who tried to escape when the cyclone blew holes in the roof and walls. According to local accounts, 30 were killed, including 25 monks.

In a disused gymnasium in Hlaing Taya township, 150 destitute people huddled in patient misery and asked searching questions of a government that has often cowed its critics into silence during 46 years of repressive rule.

“The government has done nothing to help us. We were given no warning of the cyclone,” said one angry community leader whose people had gone for five days without food or fresh water.

As we headed farther south and the road became a dirt track snaking through flooded paddy fields that extended as far as the horizon, the farmhouses teetered at impossible angles. They had been wrenched sideways on their little stilts by the storm surge. Every village yielded the stories of survival, loss and anger.

The most poignant sight was that of a young woman who had drowned during labour. Her dead child was with her, half-born. Beside her lay the corpse of a man, left arm outstretched, pointing to the heavens – her husband, perhaps. Nobody had come to claim her.

“Who’s supposed to bury her if her family are all dead?” I asked.

“That’s the question we’re all asking,” the guide replied.

More than 200 people in the woman’s village had been killed and a team of gravediggers was too busy to deal with her.

The prospect of urgently needed outside help diminished further yesterday when visa offices were closed for a three-day holiday, to the frustration of officials from international relief organisations vainly pressing to be allowed in.

All this raises serious questions as to how willing the Burmese regime is to facilitate humanitarian relief for its suffering people. The junta said it would allow one US aid flight to land. But it spurned help from the US military, which has C-130 cargo planes, helicopters and ships in the vicinity.

Water is the breath of life to the 7m people dwelling in the Irrawaddy delta. It helped to make the region the “rice bowl of Asia” before independence from Britain. Now much of it is inundated with salt water and useless for growing rice.

As in previous cyclones, the weakest – children and women – make up the bulk of the dead. “Every day that goes by, certainly more children will die,” Kirkwood said.

He pointed out his concerns about water. One was that it was probably already too late to save many lives in areas that were flooded by the tidal surge of salt water. “If people have had no access to fresh drinking water they could live for only about 72 hours,” he said.

In areas where people had access to fresh water, it was probably contaminated by decomposing bodies and animal carcasses and undrinkable, he said; and where people were crowded together in temporary shelters, it was probably also polluted.

In and around Rangoon itself tens of thousands of people had no access to clean water because wells were flooded or soiled, so they were forced to drink polluted river water.

Even without the foot-dragging of Burma’s military government, recovery from such a disaster will take years and cost tens of millions of pounds. Yesterday, as the international pressure mounted on the junta to open up its aid effort, critics wondered whether it had failed its populace from the very beginning by neglecting to give adequate warning of the storm building up in the Bay of Bengal.

The government insisted that it had raised the alarm well in advance. But unlike its neighbour Bangladesh, which has 40,000 cyclone volunteers and 3,000 cyclone shelters along its coastline, Burma has none.

Ordinary citizens complained that they had been told the storm was abating, with winds of only 40 or 50mph. In fact, when the cyclone made landfall, its winds were up to 150mph and blew for six hours or more.

The deaths were caused mainly when the wind whipped up a 13ft-high wall of water that built up over the shallows of the continental shelf and smashed ashore, drowning tens of thousands of people. As it ripped apart towns, shantytowns and villages, it made hundreds of thousands homeless, destroyed livestock and boats and washed away roads.

Even a week later, it is still unclear how Burma’s leaders are directing their emergency response. The 400,000-strong army has the task of distributing the aid to stricken areas but all the signs are that it is not up to such a monumental task.

The big question in the medium term is whether the humanitarian crisis will open up cracks in the regime’s armour and ultimately bring about a change in Burma. That is clearly what many Burmese inside and outside the country are hoping.

But for the tens of thousands who died beneath the wall of water and the thousands now dying for lack of aid, it is too late for change. They will continue to be washed up for months to come, victims of a natural disaster that threatens to become a bigger catastrophe because their leaders have failed them.

THE GENERALS IN DENIAL

Than Shwe
Deeply xenophobic hard man of the regime. Head of state since 1992, he is 75 and believed to be suffering from diabetes, hypertension and cancer. Consults a blind peasant astrologer for advice. Spent a fortune on his daughter’s 2006 wedding.

Maung Aye
Hard-drinking second-in-command. Aged 70, he suffers from prostate cancer but remains heir-apparent. Known for his ruthlessness in war against ethnic Karen guerillas, he has vowed to “annihilate” Aung San Suu Kyi, the opposition leader, and her followers.

Shwe Mann
Career soldier and No 3 in the ruling State Peace and Development Council, he was trusted to carry Than Shwe’s orders when the leader was in hospital in December 2006. In his early sixties, he is regarded as one of the more energetic of the generals.

Thein Sein
Prime minister since last October and fawning loyalist of Than Shwe. He has made several public appearances since the cyclone hit Burma. Travels frequently in southeast Asia and is the public face of the junta, although he exercises little power.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article3908490.ece

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

May 12, 2008 at 3:48 am