SOLYMONE BLOG

DID THE CYCLONE NARGIS CHANGE BURMA'S JUNTA?


Children of Burma displaced by Cyclone Nargis
The world may had forgotten Burma . However the ruling military junta changed its name from Burma to Myanmar in 1989, a year after thousands were killed in the suppression of a popular uprising. Rangoon also became Yangon.
The country is still facing sanctions by UN and EU since 2006. The Sanction include a travel ban on the country's top officials, an arms embargo and a freeze of Burmese assets in Europe.
From bad to worse when Cyclone Nargis tore through Burma's delta region this time last year, it left 140,000 people dead and two million others without food, shelter or a way to earn a living.
But perhaps the most shocking aspect of the disaster was the military government's indifference to the suffering of its own people.
The ruling generals said Burma did not need "chocolate bars donated by foreign countries", and refused to allow aid into the region for nearly three weeks.
The international community was appalled, and eventually after intense diplomatic lobbying Burmese leaders were persuaded to accept foreign assistance.
A full-scale aid operation got under way, and the world heaved a collective sigh of relief.
A year later this aid operation is still in full swing, and while lots of people remain dependant on outside help, most have now been given some form of assistance.
The government has not spent much of its own money on the relief effort, but at least it has mainly left the aid agencies to their own devices, enabling them to distribute supplies throughout the region.
Courtesy: BBC
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