Never have more people perished because of institutional paranoia and neglect. With some estimating the death toll will eventually reach 500,000 in Burma, the ruling junta continues to deny foreign aid, five days after the devastating cyclone hit.
Tomorrow is the only day that matters to mass murderer Than Shwe and his military regime, which has scheduled a referendum that would increase army powers. They worry foreign influence might impact the vote, so visas remain on hold. Meanwhile,
“The bodies need to be collected and burnt as soon as possible or disease will claim many more lives. But the government has organised nothing and its 400,000 soldiers are doing nothing while undistributed aid piles up.
“They are hoping bodies will be washed out to sea so the final count is smaller – but it could kill half a million people within a matter of weeks. The world must know what is going on.”
The Burmese government was warned of the advancing cyclone 48 hours before it reached land but issued no evacuations. Their indifference continues; according to televised reports, only seven army helicopters are distributing supplies throughout the country, which is about the size of Texas. This despite the fact 30 to 50 percent of the state’s budget is spent on the military.
Suffering was a way of life in Burma even before the epic storm, with an estimated 90 percent of the population living below the poverty line. The only country with a worse health system? War-ravaged Sierra Leone.
Life is good, however, for the ruling class, as witnessed in this bootlegged video of Than Shwe’s daughter’s wedding. Doesn’t look like she’s missed many meals.