Myanmar local officials demanded cash bribes for permission to donate food

Myanmar local officials demanded cash bribes

for permission to donate food

AFP

Amid prayers for Myanmar’s cyclone dead,

complaints of corruption

YANGON (AFP) — Rajagopal, one of many volunteers in Myanmar bringing food to cyclone victims, said he was shocked by the desperation of the survivors in the Irrawaddy delta, where he saw corpses still hanging in trees.

But even more appalling, he said, was that local officials demanded that he and his friends pay cash bribes to win permission to bring food into the devastated southern region. Continue reading

UN: Cyclone ‘worse than 04 tsunami’

UN: Cyclone ‘worse than 04 tsunami’

 TUESDAY, MAY 20, 2008

The devastation in Myanmar from Cyclone Nargis could create a humanitarian crisis worse than that of the 2004 south Asian tsunami, the UN’s secretary-general has said.

He said at a press conference in New York: “This is a critical moment for Myanmar.  Continue reading

China Shows the SPDC Generals How to Mourn

China Shows the SPDC Generals How to Mourn

By Wai Moe May 20, 2008

The Burmese military junta has belatedly called for three days of national mourning for those who died in Cyclone Nargis, beginning on Tuesday.

The announcement on Monday of the period of mourning and the visit made by the junta leader, Snr-Gen Than Shwe, to refugee camps in Rangoon and the Irrawaddy delta demonstrated that the regime leaders are trying show a human face. Or are they just following the lead of China? Continue reading

Photo proof of:Irresponsible United Nations is dragging its feet in applying “responsibility to protect” the Burmese people

Photo proof of:

 

Irresponsible United Nations’ dragging its feet

 

in applying “responsibility to protect”

 

the Burmese people

 

 

  Continue reading

Are paramedics’ treating at student camps and detention centers causing unnecessary deaths?

Are paramedics’ treating at student camps

and detention centers

causing unnecessary deaths?

 

Dr T’s letter to Malaysiakini on May 19, 08′,”Toxic megacolon’ could have been diagnosed”

 

I refer to the letter, Impossible to have ‘zero death’ for NS.

I would like to highlight an important issue regarding the death of the poor student. First of all, I am also a doctor, trained in general surgery that deals with cases similar to the cause of the student’s death. I totally disagree with Dr K that it is easy to miss the diagnosis when the student was examined by the paramedics.

 

Based on the patient’s general condition and physical examination, the medical staff could make the right diagnosis. The important point here is the ‘sign of abdominal tenderness on palpation’. Tenderness on palpation is a sinister sign that can not be taken lightly.
 
Many medical staff and – sorry to say – even doctors take for granted this vital sign on physical examination. If any of us went to any government clinic or hospital in Malaysia with ‘stomach pain with vomiting’, you will be labelled with ‘gastric pain’ and treated with anti-acid medication in 9 out of 10 times as that is the only way they are used to when they treat similar cases.

If the pain does not go away after the initial medication, pain killer injections will be given which serves to ‘hide’ the main problem until it gets worse. Then, the patient will be left in the Accident & Emergency observation ward for hours till the pain goes away or the patient requests to get admitted. Nine out 10 times, the patient never gets admitted.
 
Personally, I have seen many patients die for being given similar treatment for ‘stomach pain’. One patient was presented to Ipoh GH for several months in 2005 and was treated for ‘stomach pain’ and sent back home on every visit after sleeping overnight in th A&E ward. After some time, he finally refused to go home and was admitted to the ward. He died from advanced stage of stomach cancer two weeks after the first admission.

By the time he was seen in the ward, the disease has spread and it was too late for any surgery. Another patient with infection to her gallbladder was diagnosed with ‘stomach pain’ and sent back home after an injection given by an A&E doctor. She came back the next day, was admitted directly to ICU and died two days after admission.
 
My point here is very simple. Look at the issue as a general issue, not only limited to the PLKN student’s death. It shows the poor standard of care given in our public hospitals. What about the patient who was mismanaged for his stomach cancer and the lady who died because the doctor thinks that it is only ‘gastritis’. Are their lives not as important as the student’s life? The PLKN student’s family will get compensation for her death but what about the other victims’ families?
 
Back to the PLKN issue, there are several things that can be done to prevent the future deaths.
 
1. There are paramedics attached to all the PLKN camps. This is not right anymore. Get only senior staff with at least five years and above of experience in service. And also, only paramedic staff working under emergency care and trauma should be posted to all the NS camps. Currently, the Health Ministry chooses the staff randomly from all over the country to work in the NS camps.

I personally know a situation where a nurse who only deals with pregnant ladies for 15 years were posted to a PLKN camp in Perak. What is the aim of these random postings? It is just a mockery of the health service provided for the innocent students in PLKN.
 
2. Since there are cases where students died of ‘unknown causes’ and the government had to wait to see the postmortem reports before announcing the cause of the students’ death, all treatment process should be rearranged. All patients who do not improve within a given period of time (depends on each case) should be sent directly and fast to the nearest state hospital with a specialist only.

This patient must be seen by a specialist on duty and given the necessary treatment. Referral to a general doctor in this case is out of the question. This will ultimately prevent the ‘unknown cause of death’ as the specialist is trained to deal with any rare illnesses.
 
Last but not least, the latest case of the student who died from toxic megacolon is not over yet. The doctor needs to find out what and how the student got the problem as she was only one out of many at the camp who came done with stomach pain and constipation. The real culprit (if it is an organism) that cause the bowel death might be hiding some where in the camp or even in the student’s home only to ‘attack’ another innocent victim.

Related article:

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAM, Human rights activist Irene Fernandez found guilty of maliciously publishing false news

Myanmar to Widen Neighbors’ Aid Role

A transport plane flew over a temple near Myanmar’s capital of Yangon on Saturday.

 

Published: May 20, 2008
BANGKOK — Myanmar agreed Monday to let its Southeast Asian neighbors help coordinate foreign relief assistance for cyclone victims, bending somewhat to international pressure to allow more outside aid, Singapore’s foreign minister, George Yeo, said.
But the supply of aid and the entry of relief workers from countries outside the Southeast Asian bloc will continue to be limited, he said.

“We will establish a mechanism so that aid from all over the world can flow into Myanmar,” Mr. Yeo said, speaking at an emergency meeting in Singapore of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or Asean, which includes Myanmar.

“Myanmar is also prepared to accept the expertise of international and regional agencies to help in its rehabilitation efforts,” he said at a news conference. Referring to the continuing limits on help from countries outside Southeast Asia, he said, “We have to look at specific needs — there will not be uncontrolled access.”

Since the cyclone, which struck Myanmar on May 3, Western nations and major relief groups have expressed alarm about Myanmar’s refusal to allow in large-scale shipments to the estimated 2.5 million survivors in need of aid.

Myanmar has permitted a small flow of aid from several nations, including the United States. But relief officials say that this amounts to only 20 percent of the needed supplies. Without more aid, they say, many more people may yet die of disease and starvation.

International pressure continued to build on Monday from several directions, with the French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, warning that the ruling junta could be guilty of “crimes against humanity” if it continued to restrict the supply of aid into the country.

However, despite the international criticism, Myanmar’s foreign minister, Nyan Win, was quoted by Reuters as telling reporters that there had been no delay in accepting aid. “We always welcomed international aid,” he said.

The government said Monday that beginning Tuesday, flags would be lowered as part of a three-day mourning period for the victims of the cyclone.

After failing to receive a reply to letters and telephone calls made to the military junta, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations was due to travel to Yangon, Myanmar’s main city, this week in hopes of meeting the country’s leader, Senior Gen. Than Shwe.

On Sunday, state-run television broadcast the first public video images of the general since the cyclone, showing him meeting ministers involved in the rescue effort and touring some affected areas.

The United Nations under secretary for humanitarian affairs, John Holmes, toured the Irrawaddy Delta region by helicopter on Monday, according to Michèle Montas, Mr. Ban’s spokeswoman.

Mr. Yeo, the foreign minister, said Asean would work with the United Nations at the conference in Yangon on Sunday to coordinate aid deliveries. He said Myanmar had agreed to allow in medical teams from any of its nine neighbors in Asean. Thailand has already sent a contingent of more than 30 medical workers.

In addition, Myanmar has allowed in 50 medical workers from India. China’s official news agency, Xinhua, reported that a team of 50 Chinese medics arrived in Yangon on Sunday night.

Mr. Yeo said the Myanmar government estimated losses at $10 billion in the cyclone, which swept through the Irrawaddy Delta and Yangon.

Myanmar has raised its official death toll to 78,000. The United Nations and the Red Cross estimate that the toll is more than 100,000, and that it might be as high as 138,000.

Representatives of United Nations relief agencies said that some of their supplies were getting into Myanmar but that the authorities were still severely limiting delivery and withholding many visas from foreign relief experts.

The United Nations World Food Program said it had managed to deliver food aid to just 212,000 of the 750,000 people it thinks are most in need.

The United States and France have naval vessels just outside Myanmar’s territorial waters, and are prepared to deliver supplies directly to affected areas along the coast, but they have not received clearance from the government.

In a column in the French newspaper Le Monde, Mr. Kouchner said the United Nations should intervene by force, or would be guilty of cowardice in the eyes of the world.

“What we need to bring is hand-to-hand, heart-to-heart help, not donor conferences with all their bowing and scraping,” he said later in an interview with French radio. “In the meantime, people are dying.”

Mr. Yeo rejected the idea of delivery by force. “That will create unnecessary complication,” he said at the news conference. “It will only lead to more suffering for Myanmar’s people.”

On Saturday, Myanmar’s powerful neighbor and ally, China, said other countries must show “due respect” to Myanmar in its handling of the disaster within its borders.

“Myanmar is a sovereign country,” Wang Baodong, a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, said at a briefing. “In the end, rescue and relief work will have to rely on the Myanmar government and people.”

Seth Mydans reported from Bangkok, and Alan Cowell from Paris. Warren Hoge contributed reporting from the United Nations.

source:NewYorkTimes

The senseless junta

The senseless junta

Manjit Bhatia’s opinion in Malaysiakini | May 20, 08 12:59pm

Even after a week, when Cyclone Nargis hit the Irrawady delta regime and close to 100,000 people had perished or were missing, and tens of hundreds more utterly displaced, Burma’s military junta continued to sit on its hands. Why?

After initially asking for help from the international community, who had rallied so speedily, the regime’s generals changed their minds and disallowed international aid into the country. Why?

This is the height of stupidity.

But the stupidity of the regime does not end there. In its breathless, most mind-numbing display of outright idiocy, after stating that it would postpone by two weeks the planned Constitutional reform plebiscite, Yangon (Rangoon) changed its minds and brought it forward by a week. Why?

  • Never mind that the world’s media has been denied visas to cover the devastation. After all, like China and Zimbabwe, it is a hideous regime with lots of hideous deeds to hide – deeds like corruption and murder.
  • Worse is that all foreign aid workers – people who are experts at aid and development logistics – too have been denied entry.
  • Burmese red tape is debilitating to foreign donours and non-government organizations. It is also debilitating to Burma’s people.
  • They’re desperately holding out for help not from their regime but foreign donors.

Early estimates put at least 20 percent of children in the most devastated areas are suffering from diarrhoea. The situation could worsen if water-borne diseases, such as cholera, break out. But the military men have the gall to offer this most ridiculous rationalisation: “Myanmar has prioritised receiving emergency relief provisions and making strenuous effort delivering it with its own labour to the affected areas,” a junta’s statement said. “(But) Myanmar is not ready to receive rescue and media teams from foreign countries.” How can this be? It’s bollocks. It makes utterly no sense at all.

Logistical nightmare

burma myanmar cyclone typhoon catastrophe 070508 01With the carnage likely to claim over 100,000 lives, and the cyclone’s path of destruction is writ large, restoring normalcy will take a Herculean effort. And the reconcontruction of the region will take years and several billion dollars. Burma has key natural resources whose financial windfalls haven’t accrued to the Burmese people but the Burma’s top brass, its local and foreign business cronies, and its sympathisisers. The logistical nightmare of the scale of the aid distribution perhaps leaves the regime out of its depth for effective and just distribution. Foreign aid that arrived in cargo 747s and other planes has been seized in Rangoon. There’s every reason to belief that this kleptomaniac regime has siphoned off the seized cargo and distributed it to its troops instead.

For one thing, this illegitimate and vile regime cannot exist in power without the full backing of the military’s rank-and-file, especially the military Young Turks. The regime’s top brass has virtually bought the loyalty of the Young Turks, not unlike former Philippines president Corazon Aquino and incumbent Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. How else do incompetent and corrupt regimes retain power if not by dictatorial means? Look at Zimbabwe’s abominable dictator Robert Mugabe.

For another, the junta has been peddling an absurdly populist ideology to legitimise its rule by barring specialist foreign aid workers, especially from the United States. It argues that these ‘foreigners’ have hidden agendas for entering Burma: to invade and take over the country. Trouble is, there are enough Burmese who believe the regime’s claptrap. After all, Washington had pushed the United Nations Security Council to impose international sanctions against the junta that routinely abuses human rights. And it won’t be long before the regime points to the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Effectively, what the junta is saying is that it’ll be the main driving force of relief operations in Burma. If that’s the case, why, after just a week, it had not mobilised its disaster relief effort? Easy. It is fundamentally incapable of doing so. Burma may be resource rich but look at the way the junta has singularly failed to redistribute wealth to its people. Conversely, George W Bush too dithered after Hurricane Katrina banged up New Orleans? Three years later, New Orleans was still a total disaster zone. Bush was too busy eating birthday cake with Republican presidential nominee John McCain and playing his new guitar at his Texas ranch.

Problem is, the junta has neither sufficient trucks nor helicopters to organise aid delivery on a large scale. And it is a massive operation. Many of these places are inaccessible by road. The US Essex Strike Group is in the neighborhood for a military exercise with Thailand. It says it can fly at least 10 military choppers, loaded up with supplies, to Burma within hours. With airplanes already stranded in Rangoon, and the junta already allowing one US C-130 with supplies to land in Rangoon, it will not give the Essex Strike Group idea the time of day.

Selling in the black market

burma myanmar monk protest 260907 pissed offThere was no vacillating when the junta rushed through voting for a Constitutional referendum on May 10. Politics was put head of Burmese lives and misery. In the absence of popular legitimacy, cementing its militarist-dictatorial grip on power was vital to quash pro-democracy dissent in the aftermath of last October’s Saffron protests. The regime murdered in cold blood dissenters in a manner not dissimilar to Chinese communist regime’s murder of pro-democracy protestors in Tiananmen Square in 1989. There’s more: natural resources developments are about to come on stream, bringing vital foreign exchange revenue that will only fill up the junta’s coffers.

Another thing: don’t hold your breath that the so-called international community will come racing to the rescue of the Burmese with aid money in the way it did in the aftermath of the Asian tsunami. Rescuing Burma could be doomed even before it starts. And it looks that way already, thanks to the junta’s criminal madness and irresponsibility. That’s not the end of it, though. With the global financial crisis delivering massive shocks and untold billions of dollars people’s wealth wiped away, world aid could rapidly slow to a trickle. As the world economy hurtles south, ordinary Burmese will have to turn to the heavens for a miracle to bury their dead, look after the injured and rebuild their lives. Because the corrupt junta doesn’t give a damn.

There’s growing evidence that the Burma’s generals are keeping the aid that they’ve confiscated and keeping it for themselves and the military, and there is growing evidence that sections of the military have been selling the aid on the black market. Such is the hide of this kleptomanic state whose generals are not only brutalisers of human rights of Burmese men, women and children but also cold-blooded murderers of Burmese men, women an children. And now they’re thugs too – thieves of the worst kind.