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Thailand and US Aid Burma After Recent Cyclone

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Thailand and US Aid Burma After Recent Cyclone

Thailand and the US Offering Aid and Assistance to Burmese People Affected By Cyclone Nargis that Hit Burma

The first cyclone of the 2008 season in the northern Indian Ocean was a devastating one for Burma.

Cyclone Nargis hit the land with sustained winds of 130 mph and gusts of 150-160 mph, equivalent to a strong Category 3 or minimal Category 4 hurricane.

nargis satallite Thailand and US Aid Burma After Recent Cyclone

On the 5th news reports stated that several thousand people have been killed, and thousands more were missing. More recent reports estimate that more than 150,000 people are now dead or missing from the cyclone that hit the country’s Irrawaddy delta.

The United Nations estimates that more than 1 million have been left homeless with up to 2.5 million being seriously affected. The World Health Organization has also received reports of large malaria outbreaks in the worst-affected area.

Myanmar’s isolationist regime made recovery efforts extremely complicated, initially delaying the entry of United Nations planes delivering medicine, food, and other supplies into the Southeast Asian nation.

people waiting for aid burma Thailand and US Aid Burma After Recent Cyclone

U.S. Military Assistance

The annual military operation and military exercise Cobra Gold 2008, that incidentally was almost canceled this year due to the Thailand military coup, was fortunately underway at the same time as the natural disaster occur. The military was ready, nearby, and able to provide assistance at a moments notice. This fortunate scheduling was not able to take full advantage until the end of the operations that is now extended.

On May 13th, the first U.S. military transport plane was allowed to land, bringing 14 tons of medical supplies, mosquito nets and blankets. Shortly afterwards, another five more US military C-130 transport planes were allowed to bring in more supplies.

The Thailand Public Health Ministry announced May 15th, that they would be able to send 30 doctors, along with medical supplies, to work for two weeks in Burma, totaling 160 aid workers from four Asian countries.

“We are seeing more flights into the country, more supplies getting into the delta,” said Amanda Pitt, a spokeswoman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. “But the levels of aid getting in are not adequate . . . They are not at a level and speed commensurate with what is needed.”

food supplies nargis Thailand and US Aid Burma After Recent Cyclone

Despite the acceptance of foreign aid, the military regime continues its propaganda. The advocacy group Human Rights Watch reported that the supplies delivered by a US C-130 aircraft Monday were unloaded by men wearing the shirts of the Union Solidarity and Development Association. There are also reports that state-run television continuously ran images of Gen. Than Shwe ceremonially handing out disaster relief.

According to British Foreign Secretary David Miliband,

“A natural disaster is turning into a humanitarian catastrophe of genuinely epic proportions in significant part because of the malign neglect of the regime.”

Among the people trying to get aid into the cyclone zone are Burmese living abroad. Thailand alone has an estimated 1.5 million migrant workers and political dissidents from the country.

Being distraught over the fate of his family, Win Min, an exiled Burmese political science lecturer in Thailand, repeatedly phoned home to trying to locate his loved ones. After 6 days with no luck, Min finally reached a family friend who found his relatives sitting in the rain, their home destroyed.

In an effort to provided what they can to aid Burma in this recent tragedy, Min and other academics have been translating relevant information from UN websites – on such topics as how to dispose of bodies – into Burmese and sending it to friends in Burma who are involved in impromptu volunteer relief efforts.

“It’s beyond stress, and beyond sadness, seeing all your fellow citizens suffering like this,” Win Min said.

“It’s very, very terrible – beyond comprehension. At least this is something I can do.”

Donations Comparison

Some Burmese university students are trying to get back home with cash and supplies, many are also volunteering in the disaster area.

Others who are unable to return for financial, political, or other reasons, are donating cash, supplies, or advice from abroad.

State donations have been made by the following:

  • AUSTRALIA: $25 million
  • US: $13 million
  • UK: $10 million
  • NORWAY: $9.8 million
  • CHINA: $4.3 million
  • EU: $3 million
  • SOUTH KOREA: $2.1 million
  • CANADA: $2 million
  • INDONESIA: $1 million
  • SPAIN: $775,000
  • GERMANY: $775,000
  • AZERBAIJAN: $500,000
  • GREECE: US$ 500,000
  • NEW ZEALAND: $394,000
  • FRANCE: $320,000
  • JAPAN: $267,570
  • VIETNAM: $220,000
  • SINGAPORE: $200,000
  • CZECH REPUBLIC: $330,000
  • MALAYSIA: $ 155.763
  • THAILAND: $100,000

Corporations and Foundation Donations:

  • CHEVRON CORPORATION: $2 million
  • GOOGLE: $1 million
  • THE UPS FOUNDATION: $ 200,000
  • OXFAM: $200,000
  • NEW ZEALANG RED CROSS: $ 100,000

Burma Relief Organizations

World Food Program, Doctors without Borders, International Red Cross, World Vision, Save the Children, Mercy Malaysia, CARE, Church World Service, Direct Relief International, Foundation for the People of Burma, Global Giving, Medical Corps, CHF International, IDE, UNICEF, Unitarian Universalists Service Committee , Thirst Aid, Oxfam International, American Burma Buddhist Association, Americares, International Rescue Committee

The damage caused by the flood waters is proving to be immense. Using normal satellite images area the flooded areas are difficult to see, especially if the waters are muddy. In order to make the extent of the flooding clear, NASA’s Terra satellite equipped with Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) uses a combination of visible and infrared light to make floodwaters obvious.

Images taken from the Terra satellite display water as blue or black, vegetation as bright green and bare ground as tan. Clouds are also displayed either in white or light blue.

When comparing images taken April 15th to those taken on May 5th, the huge amount of flooding in Burma suddenly becomes apparent.

April 15th, rivers and lakes are shapely defined against a backdrop of vegetation. The Irrawaddy River can be clearly seen flowing south (through the left-hand side of the image) splitting into the numerous tributaries known as the Mouths of the Irrawaddy. The wetlands near the shore are blue.

burma 15th april nasae28099s terra satellite Thailand and US Aid Burma After Recent Cyclone

May 5th the entire costal plane and a large areas spreading inland are flooded. Yangtze (population over 4 million) is almost completely surrounded by floods. Large areas of muddy runoff into the Gulf of Martaban are shown in turquoise.

burma 5th may nasae28099s terra satellite Thailand and US Aid Burma After Recent Cyclone

While international aid donors and Western governments are lining up to provide humanitarian assistance to the victims of Cyclone Nargis, more than 140,000 refugees from Burma’s ongoing armed conflicts are facing a drastic cut in aid.

Thailand Burma Border Consortium – an organization that provides assistance to more than 140,000 Burmese refugees in different 10 camps along the Thai-Burmese border – has released and urgent letter of appeal requesting US $6.8 million to maintain aid to the Burmese refugees.

Sally Thompson, deputy director of TBBC, said,

“If we do not get a certain amount of dollars, we will have no choice but to cut the ration, so we are only be able to provide about 1,100 kilo-calories (kcals) per person per day from August,”

“We could expect to see significant increases in malnutrition rates amongst the vulnerable population and increasing health problems relating to nutrition. The protective community structures afforded by the camps would be undermined and refugees forced to supplement their food by leaving the camps at considerable risk of abuse and exploitation,”

TBBC explained that their budget has been seriously affected to the sharp increase in global rice prices earlier this year, coupled with the devastating affects of cyclone Nargis.

With millions now homeless and much of the country’s agriculture inundated with seawater, TBBC said it harbors considerable doubts about how quickly the economy in Burma can be restored.

“We are in a critical time because of the global food crisis and the cyclone in Burma,” said Thompson.

“It has brought many issues to a head at the same time. We have to be flexible to deal with the emergency inside the country; at the same time we have remain open to the fact that Burma is still generating new arrivals of refugees.”

Additional Information About Burma

adobe pdf download Thailand and US Aid Burma After Recent Cyclone Burma Report with Satellite Images

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