The Burmese government continues to show its contempt for human life, being unable to pin down the exact number dead or homeless. This is in stark contrast to their exact figures for livestock lost – 1,250,194 chickens and 136,804 buffaloes, including three owned by the government, according to reports in the UK Guardian today..
Cyclone Nargis, which hit Burma on May 2nd has so far left an estimated 134,000 dead, and millions homeless. The paranoid Burmese military government have been reluctant to allow foreign aid in, and still state that will only allow civilian ships to enter their country, even three weeks after the disaster.
The callousness continues, with officials ordering homeless survivors to pull down temporary shelters they had built along the roadways through the disaster zone. This is despite claims by the Burmese government that they are doing more to help with relief efforts.
Such police action is typical of the gulf that exists between what the Burmese government says in public, and what it actually does. The military junta states that it is willing to let foreign aid in, but so far has done very little in so doing.
Last Friday, Burma’s senior General, Than Shwe, stated that Burma would lift all restrictions on foreign aid agencies entering the country. This has still not happened, and there appears no set agenda as to when, or if, it will actually happen. In any regards, Burma appears to be in no hurry to allow foreign intervention.
In the meantime, the homeless in their temporary shelters across the Irrawaddy delta are being told to go home. They are reluctant to do this, as there is a strong warning of another severe cyclone in the near future.
Where they are located (Irrawaddy delta) has less chance of flooding, and also allows them to be on hand for donations from passing aid convoys. Officials, however, are more concerned that the temporary shelters are an eyesore, and have ordered the homeless back to their homes. Despite the fact that many of them have no homes, and the places where their homes were are likely to be more severely devastated by the expected further cyclone.
In the meantime, with the lack of aid, and Burma’s incapacity to help itself, the injured and displaced continue to fall victim to the ever-increasing reality of disease, and the death toll continues to rise at an ever-increasing pace.