Saturday, May 10, 2008

Aid on the way to devastated Myanmar but so is heavy rain

In an earlier post I referred to an "Oh man!" moment in movies. The character has survived various catastrophes and thinks he's seen the last of them when one last one comes along. Its funny in a movie which is fiction. Not so in the real world.

Myanmar's people need heavy rains like you need an extra foot. Cyclone Nargis devastated the country. Heavy rains which are also terribly destructive are something the people customarily deal with, but not now.
More aid is on the way to cyclone-ravaged Myanmar — but so is the heavy rain. A week after Cyclone Nargis flattened low-lying villages and killed whole families at a time, the military junta finally agreed Friday to allow a U.S. cargo plane to bring in food and other supplies to the isolated country. Myanmar gave the green light after confiscating other shipments, prompting the U.N. to order a temporary freeze in shipments.

The U.N. agreed to resume flights but relief workers, including Americans, were still being barred entry.

With phone lines down, roads blocked and electricity networks destroyed, it was nearly impossible to reach isolated areas in the swamped Irrawaddy delta, where the stench of unburied and decaying bodies added to the misery.

Heavy rain that is forecast in the next week is certain to worsen the plight of almost 2 million people awaiting food, clean water, shelter and medicine.

Diplomats and aid groups warned that the number of dead could eventually exceed 100,000 because of illness and said thousands of children may have been orphaned.

Survivors in one of the worst-affected areas, near the town of Bogalay about 20 miles inland, were among those fighting hunger, illness and wrenching loneliness.

"All my 28 family members have died," said Thein Myint, a 68-year-old fisherman who was overcome by tears and trauma as he tried to explain how the May 3 cyclone swept away the rest of his family. "I am the only survivor."

Survivors were sleeping amid the debris of their splintered homes in Bogalay, where more than 95 percent of the houses were destroyed.

Thank God the junta is now allowing aid to come in. Particularly from the US which is something I doubted would happen.

Note: Headline links to source.

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