Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Myanmar humanitarian crisis: politics, global warming, charities

Cyclone Nargis flooded areas of Myanmar (Burma) 35 miles inland with the storm surge (it’s not a “tidal wave”) that may have killed over 100,000 (41000 are missing) people and devastated an area much larger than that associated with Hurricane Katrina. The storm came onshore from the West on Friday May 2 as a Category 4 by the hurricane scale, and was a Category 1 when it passed over Rangoon and a tropical storm when it entered Thailand. In nearby Yangon, there was no electricity for 6 million residents.

Some aid has arrived from Thailand, but the world has watched in disbelief as the military junta resists aid from western countries and charities, like Save the Children, which says it has been able to start providing aid anyway, story. That particular charity was reported by John Stossel on 20/20 some years back.

As with previous storms in Bangladesh, the event shows that the increase in storms with global warming may affect impoverished low-lying areas around the world, especially the tropics, the most. Rice and food production may be affected even more.

A later story on CNN is " Rotting corpses pile up as Myanmar stalls on aid," link here.

The political problems in Burma were covered in the 1995 film from Columbia, directed by John Boorman, Beyond Rangoon.

May 10

CNN offers a link so a shocking Time article by Romesh Ratnesar, "Is it Time to Invade Burma?", link here.

Myanmar now faces an unprecedented public health crisis. Is this where a mutation in a virus like H5N1, capable of launching a crippling pandemic, could occur?

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