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May 7, 2008 / chrisisgross

Trouble in Burma

With much sadness I am resurrecting this title that I used during the previous crisis in Burma at the end of September. Unfortunately, this title is once more way too apt and I am again moved to bring this to the attention of those who do not know.

Over the last weekend Cyclone Nargis slammed ashore in the Irrawaddy Delta of Burma, an area once known as the “Rice Bowl of Southeast Asia.” Initially the junta reported that only 350+ people had died from the storm. It appeared that Burma had been able to escape without too much destruction. However, as the days have passed the reality of the situation is much too clear.

The death toll has topped 22,000, many of them children, with 40,000 more still missing. There is a strong possibility that the death toll will surpass 60,000 people. To put this into context, the tsunami of 2004 killed 180,000 over a number of countries in the Indian Ocean, the disaster in Burma has killed 1/3 the number of people in only 1 country.

This death toll will only climb due to the junta’s refusal to accept aid, the destruction of their woefully inaddequate infrastructure, and as some dissident news sources are reporting the junta is selling the food aid that has been given to Burma. Couple this with the junta’s insistence that the constitutional referendum scheduled for this weekend will go on and the military has failed its people again. To attempt to gain from this disaster is reproachable. 

The Burmese people have been dealt a severe blow once again. While we complain about rising fuel prices and a struggling economy(I know I do since I am only marginally employed right now) there are still real problems outside our realm that occurring. 

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