Tuesday, May 13, 2008


YANGON - Myanmar's military rulers rejected growing international pressure to accept aid workers, insisting against all the evidence that it had the emergency cyclone relief effort under control.

Even as US President George W. Bush and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon voiced their fury at the country's generals, and aid agencies again warned that time was running out, the regime remained defiant about letting in outsiders.

"The nation does not need skilled relief workers yet," Vice Admiral Soe Thein said in the New Light of Myanmar newspaper, a mouthpiece for the military which has ruled the nation with an iron grip for nearly half a century.

But aid agencies tell a starkly different story, warning that as every day passes without sufficient food, water and shelter, as many as two million people are at risk of adding to the already staggering death toll. "There's no telling how many people have lost their lives as a result of the slow response. Unless more aid gets into the country very quickly, we face an outbreak of infectious diseases that could dwarf today's current crisis.

Eleven days after the disaster struck, thousands of hungry people are still lining the roads on the route between the main city Yangon and the low-lying delta that bore the brunt of Cyclone Nargis, begging for food and water.

With access cut off to the south for most outsiders, the full extent of the death and destruction may not be known for months.

The United Nations and United States have estimated the number of dead at around 100,000….CHANNELNEWSASIA

No comments: