Thursday, 8 May 2008

Who is the real killer in Burma, the cyclone or humankind?

Satellite image of the Irrawaddy Delta

The Irrawaddy Delta

Burma's Irrawaddy delta is the area where at least 22,000 people were killed.

The area, which is hard to access even under normal circumstances, remains largely cut off from the rest of the country and the rest of the world, four days after a strong cyclone unleashed strong winds and high tidal waves with caused massive damage and flooding in the densely populated area.

Other parts of
Burma were also badly affected, including the city of Rangoon which was until quite recently the capital city, and which remains the city with the largest population.

Concern mounts due to the lack of food, water, medical facilities, and shelter, especially for those in the delta and in other remote and inaccessible areas.

Diseases, and illnesses resulting from the lack of sanitation, poor diet, and exposure to the elements, as a result of damage caused by Cyclone 'Nargis', will be difficult to treat in a country, which has one of the world's poorest health care systems even under normal circumstance.

The devastation and loss of life in Burma is extraordinary high.

The official death toll is now 22,000 with 41,000 reported as missing, three days after Cyclone 'Nargis' hit the country.

From inside
Burma, the Save The Children has been reported as saying that between 50,000 to 100,000 may have died.

The secretive and oppressive Military Junta in Burma was slow to respond to the crisis, and has now belatedly requested international aid.

How effective outside help will be depends on the willingness of the Burmese Junta to co-operate fully.

Burma's secretive military leaders finally approved, 7th May 2008, a UN aid flight to help victims of the devastating cyclone.

The flight, carrying 25 tonnes of aid, is due to leave Italy, while help from Burma's neighbours is already getting through.

But concerns remain that delaying access to outside aid workers is harming relief efforts after the devastating cyclone hit Burma on Saturday 3rd May 2008.

Why has the damage and the loss of life been so great?

A mangrove lined coast

Part of the answer is the wanton destruction of the mangrove forests, which line and protect the low lying coastlines of many areas in Asia, for example, in Bangladesh, Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc.

This destruction has been carried as there is much money to be made from the sale of the timber, or the charcoal made from it, mangrove trunks are also make ideal piles for houses and other small buildings, also in many areas in Asia, the areas cleared mangrove trees are used for buildings.

So, apparently, the primary cause of the disaster in Burma, is the avarice and greed of the corrupt and the powerful.

The destruction of mangrove forests in Burma, which has left low lying coastal areas exposed to the devastating forces (both strong winds and big waves) of last weekend's cyclone, was a major cause of the devastation caused by the cyclone, some thinking politicians have also suggested.

ASEAN secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan reportedly said coastal developments had resulted in mangroves, which because of their specialised root system and great strength and durability, act as a natural defence against storms, being lost.

A study of the 2004 Asian tsunami had found that the areas near healthy mangrove forests suffered less damage and fewer deaths.

Mr Surin, speaking at a high-level meeting of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Singapore, said the combination of more people living in coastal areas and the loss of mangroves had exacerbated the tragedy.

Once again avarice, greed, corruption, and indifference have made fat-cat plunderers into what can only be called 'mass murderers'.

But who will these apologies for human beings blame?

God, of course, the phrase “It was an ‘Act of God’” is the normal escape clause!!!

Oppressed people everywhere need to get back their rights from the tyrants who oppress and exploit them.

For more details and news updates, from 'The Irrawaddy' please click HERE

Deus et natua non faciunt frusta

- God and nature do not work together in vain

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