Hospitals turning away patients

(Update of some Burmese language reports on Cyclone Nargis’ aftermath)

Hospitals in Rangoon are being forced to turn away patients because of a lack of electricity and water. According to an employee at the general hospital (pictured above, in happier times), who spoke to Thailand-based Yoma 3 News by phone,

“There are only two power lines. The radiotherapy department had to discharge 30 patients because it has no electricity. Because of transport problems patients can’t get to the outpatients department (either).”

On last Sunday a pregnant woman going in to labour was refused admission to the emergency department and referred to the SSC special medical centre. Because the centre had no water the patient had to buy bottled water outside and give it in order to get treated.

The upper floor wards of the general hospital have been damaged by the storm. The roof was hit by trees but up to now there have been no repairs. According to another ministry employee, the operations ward and natal ward have been badly damaged and patients cannot be admitted to them.

Hospitals are also running short of medicines and had so far received no fresh supplies to cope with the disaster.

Research facilities in Dagon, greater Rangoon, were also hit and large stocks of bone marrow, tissue and so on are all now worthless because there has been no refrigeration since the storm.

Officials trying to drive homeless out of Rangoon

Ward council officials in Rangoon are trying to force villagers who have lost their homes and come to seek shelter in the city to go back on the pretext that the forecast is for fine weather. About 600 cyclone refugees who came into South Dagon ward 105 on May 5 are being told to leave the ward religious hall (Dhamma Hall) and Primary School No. 25. One of them told Yoma 3 that although people protested that they haven’t made repairs to houses and there’s no food in the villages, the officials replied that,”The weather’s fine again and you can’t stay, it’s District Council orders.” (Source: Yoma 3, May 8)

Homeless couple hit for speaking against referendum

Despite the affects of Cyclone Nargis, government officials in Rangoon have carried on threatening people to vote Yes in the forthcoming referendum just like previously. The day before Nargis made landfall, officials were out in villages in Rangoon Division, including Kyanbin, Tarpa and Kwinbauk, handing out imitation ballots with green ticks and details of the voter on the back. Despite the cyclone, on May 5 a group of officials led by a local fire chief named Thaung Htun assembled people in Hlaingthayar and (or) Shwepyithar industrial areas on the outskirts of Rangoon, and amid the wreckage and utter poverty insisted that they support the draft constitution. When a person present couldn’t contain his anger and yelled that there is no way he will support the military government, Thaung Htun hit him. Then when the man’s wife said that he had shouted out not from hatred but from depression that their house had been destroyed in the storm, Thaung Htun hit her too. She had to be taken to the Shwepyithar outpatients department where she was given seven stitches to the wound. (Source: RFA, May 7)

High risk of disease from decomposing corpses in Irrawaddy

The large number of corpses in the Irrawaddy Delta that still cannot be recovered and cremated due to high water levels is posing a serious risk of contagious disease. According to a resident of Laputta who spoke to VOA, there are bodies floating in all the streams and rivers, including the Pyanhlwa, Yway and Pyinzalu Rivers. Some people have collected bodies and cremated their family members themselves. Drinking water supplies, including around 200 ponds, have been polluted not only by decaying bodies but also because the salt water flooded into them. (Source: VOA, May 7)

Deaths, damage and referendum threats in Pegu

Pegu, northeast of Rangoon, escaped serious damage but in surrounding areas there has been damage and people have been killed. Five women in Waw died when the vehicle they were travelling in overturned, another person when hit by flying timber. In Pegu, most damage consists of fallen trees and powerlines, and ripped-open rooves. In Zithi village at least 40 houses were destroyed. The inhabitants survived because they had gone to shelter in a monastery. Around two-thirds of houses have been damaged in Kawa, Thekkalat, Kyarsihpu, Kakawtkanote, Pyawbwe, Paukbin, Paukgan and Thayetkone villages. However, police and local council officials are still going around to warn people to vote Yes in the constitutional referendum that will be held on Saturday. (Source: DVB, May 7)

Climbing death toll doesn’t yet include Laputta

As has been widely reported in international news, the US ambassador has suggested that the total number of dead could finally exceed 100,000. Last night, the official government figures were 22,980 dead and 42,119 missing. But these figures have not yet accounted for many areas, including Laputta, which was among the worst-hit areas in the delta, where in the town itself only one person was counted as dead and around a thousand in the township as a whole. According to a doctor who came from the town to Rangoon yesterday, the storm hit the town from every side and the swamped it in 12 feet of seawater, causing the entire lower side of town (on the waterfront) to be submerged. Many people died when they climbed onto the rooves of larger houses and buildings and these too collapsed. However, surrounding fields and salt flats were worse effected by flooding. Out of families of seven or eight people from surrounding areas, perhaps one or two members have survived. Pinzalu, Thingankyi and Yway villages were among the worst hit. There are corpses in the rivers, on embankments, and entangled in or hanging from trees and palms. A person from Pinzalu estimated that out of the 4-5000 people residing there before, perhaps 2-300 have survived. (Source: DVB interview with Dr Aye Kyu, May 7, part 1, part 2)

Advertisements

4 responses to “Hospitals turning away patients

  1. Thousands believed dead in Kwun Gyan Kone, Rangoon Division: Eyewitness
    Mizzima News, Wednesday, 07 May 2008 23:33

    New Delhi – The intolerable smell of dead humans and cattle was still spreading as corpses lay uncollected in Kwun Gyan Kone Township in western Rangoon division, an eyewitness said.

    A local resident, who had visited Kwun Gyan Kone township today, said bodies of humans as well as cattle – including cows and buffaloes – are seen everywhere.

    “The whole area stinks, and there are several bodies everywhere,” the resident said. “Though it is hard to count, there could be hundreds.”

    Kwun Gyan Kone is about 40 miles southwest of Rangoon and a few miles from Irrawaddy division.

    The resident said a government rescue team led by the ruling junta’s Energy Minister Lun Thi has arrived in the town to conduct recovery work.

    “The human deaths are not much in the town, but there are more along the road to rural villages in the township,” the resident said.

    He added that several villages have been submerged by flood waters. And he said that many people died due to lack of information about the coming cyclone. The water level in the township is still about four feet inside the houses.

    “Now the people are not scared only of the storm but are scared of ghosts, too,” the man said.

    Local villagers estimate that there could be about 10,000 deaths, he added.

    The government rescue team began distributing rice, bottles of mineral water and dry noodles to families in the town, the local said. However, villagers in rural areas have not been reached.

    The local also added that he had seen the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) approaching Kwun Gyan Kone. However, he said he is not aware of their rescue activities.

    Meanwhile, an eyewitness in Rangoon said about ten bodies – children, men and women – have been recovered from the Hlaing River in Rangoon.

    “I think the bodies have floated from the Kwun Gyan Kone areas,” the eyewitness told Mizzima.

    ———————

    ‘Many of my friends are starving’
    Mungpi, Friday, 09 May 2008 00:28, Mizzima News

    New Delhi – Nearly a week after Cyclone Nargis, aid has started to trickle into Burma but has yet to reach the most devastated areas of the Irrawaddy Delta.

    “Many of my friends are starving, with no food and water supplies,” a survivor of the cyclone from Laputta Township, on the Bay of Bengal, told Mizzima.

    He said several of the survivors have fled to Laputta Town, where they have sought shelter in public schools and monasteries. He later fled to Rangoon to ask for help from his friends.

    The survivor said rescue and recovery of bodies was being conducted by local villagers who survived the storm. But the majority of dead bodies have yet to be recovered and many have begun to float on the flood waters, which have inundated vast portions of the rural areas of the township, he added.

    “Today we conducted the funeral service for my friend’s families, though we have not found their bodies. I don’t think we could find them now,” added the survivor, who does not want to be named.

    He was among the lucky ones in Laputta, as his entire family also survived.

    When the storm came, most of the villagers, who are used to coastal storms, did not believe it would be so big.

    “The storm just came without even giving any time for us to run,” he narrated.

    Most of the villages in the rural areas of the township were washed away by the storm and many people are missing, he said. It was not clear how many villages there were in the region, but estimates range from two dozen to more than 50.

    “In our neighboring village there were only about 200 people left out of nearly 5,000 people,” he said.

    Most of the people in his village, he said, survived the storm.

    Because the cyclone devastated homes and destroyed water wells, villagers start moving to nearby towns, including Laputta and Myaung Mya, he said.

    “There were dead bodies falling in our well, so we could no longer use the water. But we had no other water supply so we moved to Laputta,” he added.

    With lines of communications severely damaged and a slow response from the Burmese government to let in aid agencies, several aid groups are unable to assess the devastation and the amount of aid that is required.

    “We are still in the process of conducting a needs assessment in the Irrawaddy Delta, and have not yet begun distribution,” said a Burmese aid worker, who asked not to be named.

    The aid worker said the government has forbidden international staff to visit places in the Irrawaddy Division, which has slowed down the process of aid distribution.

    “Only national staff are allowed to go to the Irrawaddy Delta,” said the aid worker, who has just returned from the Irrawaddy region.

    Meanwhile, aid from several countries began to arrive yesterday. India’s two naval ships and two aircraft fighters arrived in Rangoon and delivered medicine, food, tents and clothes.

    On Thursday, more aid from the UN and WFP arrived in Rangoon and from countries including Singapore, Thailand, Japan, Italy and Taiwan.

    The aid worker said that although aid distribution began in parts of Rangoon division, including Kwun Gyan Kone, about 40 miles southwest of the former capital, it has not been reaching the Irrawaddy Delta.

    Paul Risley, spokesperson of the World Food Programme, said the agency will begin distributing seven tons of high-energy biscuit that arrived today.

    ———————

    Hungry survivors scare off aid workers
    Mizzima News
    Thursday, 08 May 2008 20:04

    New Delhi – Several aid workers, who went down to Burma’s cyclone-devastated Irrawaddy Delta to conduct a needs assessment survey, were forced to flee after they were surrounded by villagers who might have been seeking food, an aid worker said.

    The aid worker, who asked to remain anonymous, said the assessment team was in Laputta Township, nearly half of which was submerged by water, when a hundred or more villagers approached.

    “The villagers looked pale and hungry,” he added. “They might have wanted to ask for food, but the assessment team thought it was dangerous, so they left.”

    The assessment team returned to Rangoon.

    The aid worker, who did not want to name the assessment teams organization, said no material aid has yet reached the Laputta region.

    According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), 92 percent of houses in Laputta Township were destroyed by the Cyclone Nargis, which swept through the region on Friday and Saturday.

    ———————

    Able-bodied survivors told to leave shelters
    Maung Dee & Jone Mann, Mizzima News
    Thursday, 08 May 2008 19:51

    New Delhi – Hundreds of cyclone victims have been turned away from a shelter east of Rangoon after local authorities decided it was too crowded, local residents said.

    A similar case was reported in a second shelter nearby.

    More than 3,000 residents of Block No. 20 in Hlaing Tharyar township, an industrial zone on the outskirts of the commercial capital, flocked to a primary school to seek temporary shelter after Cyclone Nargis devastated the city.

    But village authorities ordered more than 1,000 of the victims to leave, citing health concerns, according to Daw Hla Hla Maw, a part-time vegetable seller.

    “On May 6, local authorities told us to return to our own houses,” she said. “Where should we go? Our houses are damaged.”

    Authorities said only the elderly and those unable to work were allowed to stay. Others were expected to rebuild their homes.

    The officials said too many people in the school posed health hazards as there wasn’t enough fresh air or toilets. Officials also said they couldn’t distribute enough food to survivors, Daw Hla Hla Maw said.

    People now are worried over how they can rebuild their homes, which were mostly simple bamboo huts, she said. About 10,000 people were left homeless by the cyclone’s powerful winds, she estimated.

    It costs about 50,000 kyats to construct a small bamboo house. Most workers earn 3,000 kyat per day as labourers and cannot afford building materials.

    “All our houses and properties were destroyed and now we don’t have any work,” said a man from Block No. 2. “We are very worried about getting food.”

    Some residents are able to work in Rangoon, but the transportation costs more than 1,000 kyats per day one-way. Others are doing petty jobs like cleaning, washing and repairing roofs for wealthier residents.

    In Block 2, able-bodied residents were also forced out of a local school serving as a shelter, the man said.

    Authorities were providing 1 kg of rice and three potatoes to each family every day. But there were complaints about the quality and quantity of the food.

    “The rice they provided us is not good, and it needs to be cleaned again properly,” said the man from Block No. 2. “For big families, these things are not enough.”

    Wealthier people were donating rice, oil, salt and other edibles to local authorities, who distributed the goods to those living in shelters.

    ———————

  2. ‘Eighty Thousand People Dead’; Cholera Cases Reported
    By AUNG THET WINE / BOGALAY Thursday, May 8, 2008, The Irrawaddy

    (An Irrawaddy correspondent has returned from the delta area after interviewing military officers, government officials, medical personnel and survivors of Cyclone Nargis.)

    An army major with the Irrawaddy Division military headquarters who asked not to be identified said on Wednesday more than 600 villages are submerged in the Irrawaddy delta along Cyclone Nargis’ deadly path.

    The worst-hit areas are Bogalay, Laputta, Mawlamyaing Gyun and Pyapon townships where, he said, more than 80,000 people have died and more than 700,000 people are homeless.

    Local medical personnel said some survivors from Kyein Kyi Chaung village in Bogalay have died of cholera. Cholera has also occurred among some survivors from Laputta. The government has been transferring Laputta refugees to Myang Mya Township daily, according to an army officer.

    “The cholera outbreak has begun,” said one medical worker. “People have nothing to drink so they drink water from the creeks and rivers. So that is how the outbreak began.

    “These waterways are dirty because they are littered with bodies and animals. The survivors know the water is dirty, but they have no other choice and have had to drink the dirty water. That’s how they contracted cholera.

    “This is the time for us to stock up on cholera medicine for the possibility of an outbreak in the near future. However, we do not have enough medicine.”

    Bogalay was the hardest-hit township with the highest death toll, believed to be around 50,000 people. The military officer said the second largest death toll was in Laputta, with Pyapon third in the number of fatalities.

    “Laputta had nearly 20,000 deaths,” he said.

    An army officer with Light Infantry 66 who has been involved in relief efforts said:
    “A total of 142 villages went under water in Bogalay Township. The majority of the people in these villages have died. Only a few survived. For instance, Khaing Shwe Wa village in Kyun Thaya Dai Nel (village tract) had about 400 people before the cyclone; now they have only four people left. So you can say that the whole village was wiped out.”

    All 50 villages in Kyun Thaya Dai Nel located between Meinmahla Kyun and Kadonkana islands southwest of Boglay are submerged. (The villages include Mi Laung Gwin, Kapanan, Yei Kyaw Gyi, Chaung Phye, Gway Chaung, Khaing Shwe Wa, Danyinphyu, inner and outer parts of Khaung Gyi Island, Buyakyaung, Hmon Tine Gyi, Hmon Tine Lay, Tayaw Chaung, Pulonetaing, Ashe-mae, Kantmalar, Chachee Island village, Thakinma Gyi, Thitpoke village, Letwel Gyi, Kyat Pyay and Thamadi).

    Thirty-three villages located in the Kyein Chaung Gyi village tract about 40 miles (64 kilometers) west of Bogalay were wiped out, including Shwe Htoo, Lamu Oat Gyi, Lamu Oat Lay, Ma Kyin Myaing, Hlay Lone Kwe, Arr-makhan, Japan Island and Lay Gwa.

    The officer from Light Infantry 66 said thousands of people were rescued in recent days from villages where the water level has gone down.

    Local residents said many people have seen no relief supplies during the past six days following the disaster. People do not know where to go to seek help, and they are in desperate need of safe drinking water, food and medicine.

    A government officer with the Maternal and Child Care Association serving Laputta and Pyapon said there is widespread fear of diseases such as malaria, diarrhea and cholera because of dead bodies that litter the area and unsanitary living conditions.

    A resident in the Kadon village tract who has been involved in the relief effort, said: “We are using May Kha, a double-deck boat; Thuria, a long-tale boat; and local fishing boats known as jote (30-35 feet long) in our efforts to find survivors.”

    Another soldier with Light Infantry 66 said, “There is not even a trace of a village left after the water has receded; they are just open, empty places now. There are thousands of decaying corpses around islands, villages and along the waterfronts. There is no one to cremate the bodies.”

    A rescue worker said: “There’s a pile of dead bodies amounting to hundreds in and around Mein Ma Hla Island. The waterfront along this area is littered with bodies, carcasses of live stock, buffaloes, cupboards, furniture and other household materials. There are so many corpses that it is impossible to bury them.

    “Even at the Irrawaddy jetty in Bogalay, the locals have had to pick up 30 to 40 dead bodies floating in the water daily. We went on a rescue mission to a place about 60 miles from Bogalay and saw countless bodies floating in the water.”

    A soldier from Light Infantry 66 said the government has opened shelters for refugees at Bogalay Education College, state high schools Nos1 and 2 and state middle school Nos 1 and 2.

    “Some 50 monasteries in the areas have opened shelters for the victims of the cyclone,” he said. “There are some 70,000 refugees in these shelters. These shelters can no longer cope with the growing number of people. The government has also set up shelters in Ma-u-ban Township. They are using double-deck boats in the rescue efforts and transferring victims, close to 1,000 a day, to these shelters.”

    Local medical service personnel say many people have serious injuries; they are turning away people with minor injuries because they can not cope with the numbers.

    Part of Bogalay Hospital was destroyed in the cyclone, including the delivery room, operating theater, OPD and several wards.

    The cyclone destroyed 90 percent of Bogalay, said officials. There are only two working telephones reserved for emergency purposes.

    An official from Boglay Township Maternal and Child Care Association said, “Soldiers from Division 66 and an engineering regiment from Taunggo have arrived for rescue efforts. But we have not been able to distribute enough food and water to the victims.

    “The longer we have to wait for aid the more people will die. I have so far seen only a few UN personnel and groups working under the UN.”

    Recently, officials said the government started distributing three egg-sized potatoes and one condensed milk tin of rice per survivor in villages around Bogalay and 8 tins of rice per household to families in Bogalay.

    A soldier said, “To provide supplies sufficient for the victims, we will need between 1,200 and 1,500 rice sacks daily for survivors in and around Bogalay. Now we are distributing what little supply we have.”

    Local officials said they do not have enough rice to feed some 200,000 people in villages destroyed or submerged in Laputta Township; it is providing rice soup instead.

    According to Phyapon residents, 46 villages have totaled disappeared and more than 10,000 people have died in their area.

    A journalist in Rangoon said many people arriving in the former capital show signs of psychological problems.

    “I’d like to urge the government as well as the international community to speed up the rescue and relief work,” he said. “This sort of situation does not require an order from the military. There’s no need to wait for an order from the military. Just one day delay can cause the loss of hundreds of lives.

    “It’s already been a week since the cyclone and little has been done effectively. If there is going to be more delay, many more lives will be lost unnecessarily. I want everyone to hurry.”

    Aid Finally Arrives
    By SAW YAN NAING, Thursday, May 8, 2008, The Irrawaddy

    Emergency aid arrived in areas of Rangoon Division and Laputta Township on Thursday afternoon, some six days after Cyclone Nargis devastated the region. However, aid agencies could not confirm whether aid had been delivered to Bogalay—one of the areas most affected by the disaster.

    Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Thursday afternoon, Veronique Terrasse, a communications officer for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Bangkok, said that some emergency food had been delivered in Rangoon and in Laputta Township in the Irrawaddy Delta. However, she could not confirm whether the MSF relief team had arrived in Bogalay, some 60 miles (96 kilometers) southwest of Rangoon, due to a lack of telephone communications.

    Burmese men ride on a vehicle loaded with rice in Kyauktan Township, in southern Rangoon on Thursday. The UN’s World Food Program says its first flight carrying aid has landed in Burma after the military regime gave clearance to send relief material to cyclone victims. (Photo: AP)
    “We are distributing food from the World Food Program (WFP) to victims,” Terrasse said. “In Rangoon, we’re distributing plastic sheeting, some medical equipment and other materials.

    “In the meantime, we have a second team now heading to what we believe is the most affected area in the delta—Laputta,” she said. “They are assessing the situation there. We sent two trucks with the team carrying drugs, materials and plastic sheeting. The main problem we have now is that it’s logistically hard to move around.”

    The arrival of aid in affected areas marks an easing of restrictions imposed by the Burmese military government against international aid agencies.

    Burmese soldiers and police officers unload boxes of supplies from a Thai transport plane at Rangoon airport in Burma on May 6. (Photo: AP)
    Speaking to the BBC on Wednesday night from Bangkok, WFP spokesman Paul Risley said that WFP had 90 tons of food, such as rice and beans, ready to be delivered along with 45 tons of high-energy biscuits, but that the junta was denying the agency access to those in need.

    However, on Thursday afternoon, WFP confirmed that 120 metric tons of rice had been delivered to temporary “camps” in Rangoon—schools, community centers, monasteries and other buildings where victims of the cyclone had taken refuge.

    International agencies could not confirm whether aid had been received by survivors in Bogalay where 50,000 people are believed to have been killed. However local officials said they had distributed three potatoes and one tin of rice to each survivor in villages around Bogalay and 8 tins of rice per household to families in Bogalay.

    Meanwhile, the United Nations confirmed on Thursday afternoon that an airlift of supplies was being organized from the Italian port of Brindisi.

    Emergency Relief Coordinator of the United Nations and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes stated that visas for the staff of non-governmental organizations and non-United Nations staff were also being discussed with the Burmese authorities. Sources in Rangoon said that the junta will reportedly only respond to the UN relief workers’ needs after the May 10 referendum.

    So far, foreign governments and international aid agencies have now pledged more than US $30 million in humanitarian assistance and technical support to Burma in the wake of the destruction caused by Cyclone Nargis.

  3. Burmese blog the cyclone
    Story from BBC NEWS
    Published: 2008/05/08 11:54:49 GMT

    After the devastation of Cyclone Nargis, communication with people inside Burma has been sporadic and extremely difficult.

    But Burmese blogs and news sites have been quick to react by posting vivid eyewitness accounts of the disaster and mobilising fundraising efforts.

    COMMUNICATIONS DESTROYED

    First-hand accounts of the devastation wreaked by Cyclone Nargis and its aftermath have been trickling out of Burma.

    Cyclone Nargis succeeded where the junta failed last autumn in virtually obliterating phone and internet access out of Burma. People’s stories have been slow to emerge because of such practical difficulties – and this is only compounded by a pervasive fear of the ever-watchful authorities.

    Nevertheless the Mizzima news site, based in India and run by Burmese exiles, has managed to make the most of long-standing personal networks to gather some compelling accounts of loss and survival.

    One woman sheltering in a Rangoon church told Mizzima that little was left for her: “My youngest child is only 10 months old and my husband is paralysed. We can do nothing now and face a bleak future.”

    Mizzima editor Mung Pi told the BBC News website that people were very cautious about talking of their experiences. Most eyewitness accounts need to remain anonymous.

    “We have been randomly calling people. We get lucky one out of 10 times. People we know, friends in Rangoon, contact us when they can send an email but they are wary of spending too much time online.”

    Diaspora bloggers have written of their repeated attempts to reach family in Burma. Myat Thura described his attempts to contact home.

    “Sunday morning, still no phone contact. Finally, I tried to call my friend who has a mobile phone. He said the situation was really bad. He promised to go and see my family.”

    Myat Thura finally heard that his family was safe but “water was pouring into the house and my family had to move things into the rooms where it was dry.”

    He told the BBC News website that the sites he regularly reads by active Burmese bloggers haven’t had any updates since the cyclone. Rangoon-based blogger Mady Jane had not – at the time of writing – managed to post updates.

    EYEWITNESS: COPING WITH CYCLONE AFTERMATH

    Blogs and news sites have been chronicling how the residents of Rangoon are struggling to cope days after the storm hit.

    Stories of monks and local residents pulling together and co-ordinating local clean-ups and sharing water could be found on the Democratic Voice of Burma and other sites such as The Irrawaddy.

    Rangoon by night presents new challenges for people in the city according to one account:

    “Many areas in Rangoon are pitch dark at nights, including areas around Sule Pagoda, which is unusually not lit. Without a torch it is dangerous to walk on the streets, as jagged edges of uprooted trees protrude into sidewalks,” says one resident.

    The Rule of Lords blog says people have been turned away from hospitals because of the lack of electricity and water.

    The Burmese language Yoma 3 news site got news of the devastation in Laputta Township in south-western Burma which was hardest hit by the cyclone.

    Aye Kyu who was elected MP for Laputta in the 1990 elections highlighted the security threats emerging after days without aid: “Survivors come to the town brandishing their swords [i.e. machetes]. They are very angry. People are worried about security,” he said.

    One Burmese man in Rangoon who runs a small welfare organisation told the BBC via an online chat that very little help was forthcoming from the authorities, which is why everybody was working for themselves.

    He is hoping to gather a group of people and go southwest to the worst-affected parts of the country to offer aid and assistance.

    “Only city people were doing work, cleaning roads, cutting down trees. However they [the authorities] have not done not much yet,” he said.

    When the internet connection improves he will update his blog about civil society initiatives in Rangoon with his plans.

    BURMESE DIASPORA – ANGER AT THE JUNTA

    The anger felt towards the junta and its reluctance to accept offers of aid is palpable in a number of blogs.

    The Fear from Freedom blog is very clear about where culpability lies.

    “While the military government is still going ahead to legitimate and secure their power and their individual family wealth, the people … are now facing death, loss of homes and starvation.”

    London-based Burmese blogger Ko Htike is one of a number of cyber-dissidents outside the country using his Burmese language blog to spread a sense of urgency about the disaster.

    “The security threat could worsen, there could be infectious diseases, the government delay of two days in accepting the UN offer meant NGO workers couldn’t apply for visas,” he says.

    The author of another Burmese language blog asks: “Where are the army leaders who think of themselves as saviours of Burma? There is no help for people as they have to help themselves. We have to get rid of them.”

    FUNDRAISING FOR BURMA

    Nyi Lynn Seck’s updated his Burmese language blog from the hard hit Mingalartaungnyunt township five days after the cyclone hit.

    He urges all readers pay attention to the crisis: “It was very frightening. Many villages were entirely wiped out, ” he says. “Why don’t you help us?

    Ko Htike has urged everybody reading his blog to help fundraise for the victims of the cyclone. From the UK he has already raised over £1,000.

    Many other overseas Burmese groups have been posting cyclone appeals such as the American University Student Campaign for Burma
    and this Nargis appeal site posted by the Burmese community in Singapore.

    The Niknayman blog also posts a comprehensive list of donation sites.

  4. Pingback: Kindness of fellow citizens saves cyclone victims « Rule of Lords

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s