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July 31, 2011

Myanmar Bends A Little

Finally a decent decision comes out of the ruling junta in Myanmar. Foreign aide workers will be able to enter the country and help those in the devastated regions of the country. They still will not allow American, French or British ships to dock with supplies, which is probably a mistake, but at least skilled aide workers will be able to enter the country.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon seems to have made a much needed impact n Myanmar’s government Senor General Than Shwe the leader of the junta decided to allow international aide workers into the country, regardless of nationality after Ki-moon paid the country a visit. The fate of the 2 million homeless people that survived the cyclone and are on the verge of starvation will look much better with aide workers in the country to help.

While there may be fear in the heart of Myanmar’s government that something might happen if foreigners come to the country, I think that reality is starting to sink in. If there are no bodies to deliver food and assist in rebuilding the country, millions more will die. It ahs already been weeks since he cyclone and time is running out for Myanmar. If the people that are homeless and hungry are to be saved, the time is now.

It will be interesting to see how long it takes for the junta to approve visas for foreign workers. The extent of disease that may be spreading from contaminated water is currently unknown. It has been very difficult to get accurate information out of Myanmar because of the reclusive nature of the country. All reports speculate that the majority of cyclone survivors have received no assistance yet. The dead bodies that were being disposed of in the water that probably would end up being the water that many were forced to drink, also need to be dealt with. Myanmar has a chance to save some of its citizens from certain death but only if they pass foreign aide worker visas through quickly.

Political difference should not get in the way of people being saved. All of the red tape and wavering that Myanmar’s government has done surely has cost some of people their lives. There is concern that there are not enough skilled medico doctors in Myanmar to handle the massive traumas that have occurred in wake of the cyclone. That means that people who survived are injured and suffering, without proper medical care. Scars and sores that need to be cared for lay open and festering with infection. No government, no matter how arrogant or afraid of what will happen if other come in to help should allow that to happen to their people.

Hopefully help will begin to trickle into Myanmar over the next few days. It would be great to hear that those foreign aide worker visas are approved and assistance is on the way. But what will the workers find once they are there? Around 130,000 people have died and 2 million are homeless. What will the world see once Myanmar opens up and lets us in?

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