Today’s front page of The Straits Times paints a contrasting picture between how the countries’ authorities handle Asia’s recent tragedies (Cyclone Nargis that devastated Myanmar(Burma) and the 7.9-magnitude quake that struck Sichuan province in China).
On the left half of the front page:
China: Day 6
“Beijing says ‘yes’ to more foreign relief team”
On the right:
Myanmar: Day 15
“Aid groups frustrated by Yangon’s rejections”
In cyclone-hit Myanmar, children who are sleeping on the streets without adult protection are at risk of not only diseases but also sexual abuse, warned Ms Veronique Taveau, a Unicef spokeswoman. The agency estimates that 1 million children are in need of “urgent assistance”.
Due to the destruction of homes and schools children are sleeping on the streets, often without shelter from rain, this comes as health workers reported cases of infectious and potentially deadly outbreak of cholera in Myanmar.
Nearly 78000 people are dead two weeks after the tragedy. Safe drinking water is one of the most critical needs for the survivors. But despite the offers of aid from around the world, Myanmar’s junta is still reluctant about accepting foreign relief workers. This has upsetted me so much that each time I set to write about this, I’m choked with so much emotions that I was unable to write a coherent post. The refusal of foreign aid by the Myanmar’s junta could lead to the unnecessary death of tens of thousands more. Deaths that could well be avoided if food, water and medical aid were allowed to reach the people who need them the most.
But there is a glimmer hope. World Vision, the Red Cross and UN food agency, some of the organisations trusted by the junta, are working hard at distributing aid to the survivors of Cyclone Nargis. Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific directors have called on the region’s governments to increase the pressure on the Myanmar authorities to receive and support massive international assistance required to protect the rights to life, food and health of the victims of the cyclone.
To learn how you can help victims of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar (Burma) and the Wenchuan Earthquake in China among other causes, please visit the following websites:
Also view: Blogging for Human Rights