Sunday, May 11, 2008

Burma-Callous Regime is impervious to plight of victims of cyclone Nargis. It is time for international intervention

One week has elapsed since cyclone Nargis devastated the heavily populated Irrawaddy Delta and on up to the capital Rangoon. Little foreign aid has reached the country testimony to the obduracy and paranoia of a regime which fears that foreign aid workers might contaminate the minds of a cowed populace.

The death toll from the Cyclone is estimated at 60,000 to 140,000 lives. Oxfam, which has staff on the ground, has witnessed the early outbreak of disease amongst the displaced population. It estimates that the death toll could rise to 1,500,000 in the coming weeks if immediate action is not taken.

The border has been opened for one overland convoy, but the regime is still blocking the delivery of the bulk of desperately needed medical and food supplies.
The tyrants of Rangoon have systematically stymied efforts from the international community to provide humanitarian aid to the estimated two million cyclone victims.

China a staunch supporter of this discredited regime has behaved irresponsibly and has done little to ease the situation. Chinese influence could ensure an immediate policy change. Unfortunately Chinese foreign policy- in relation to countries such as Burma and Sudan- is governed by the need to advance Chinese economic interests at all costs. A death toll of 100,000 means little to China- a country whose foreign policy lacks a moral base. It is time to treat China as an international pariah unless it alters its policy in Burma and Sudan.

The US, UK and France amongst others must use whatever means are necessary to ensure humanitarian aid reaches the affected areas. If military intervention is deemed necessary so be it. To hell with the junta. Is the world prepared to stand by and allow 1,500,000 people to perish?

No comments: