How Many Must Die Needlessly?
Each day the iron-fisted military junta in Rangoon denies access to foreign aid workers more Burmese citizens die.
Each day they seize the UN relief supplies thousands more people grow sicker or perhaps die, needlessly.
Moreover, the leaders of neighboring countries appear to be taking no concrete steps towards forcing the government in Rangoon to allow medical aid to reach increasingly desperate people.
100,000 corpses may be scattered across the Irawaddy River basin and tributaries in the wake of Cyclone Nargis. Widespread famine and the growing threat of communicable diseases looms over this situation.
Typhoid Spreads Quickly
Typhoid fever only needs a few days to become a killer of thousands more. Talk to the experts at the International Committee of the Red Cross, AMURT, or Médecins Sans Frontières for the gruesome details.
Many survivors of the cyclone will surely be lacking access to clean water. This means dysentery and other microbial diseases of the digestive tract will soon be taking hold of poor people already weakened or injured from the cyclone's high winds and flooding.
The leaders in Rangoon are more concerned about dragging the dead and dying to the polls to prop up the paranoid, drug-running thugs supposedly in-charge.
The problems related to getting aid to remote villages in devastated regions of this south Asian nation are now entirely man-made. Foreign planes, helicopters, and trained aid workers stand ready to help. However, they are not allowed to deliver the aid and aid workers to the survivors that need them most. This situation cannot be allowed to continue for even one more day.
The government of China in Beijing, which literally props up Rangoon's military junta, has chosen to do nothing about the growing humanitarian crisis. The Chinese want the world to forget about all the death and destruction in Burma and pay more attention to the Olympic Torch ceremonies taking place in Tibet. There is absolutely no way the 2008 Summer Olympics should be allowed the take place in China if the government in Beijing refuses to act now to help the people of Burma.
Invasion of Humanitarian Aid Required
Despite my general revulsion at seeing the military of any foreign nation take over parts of another country, solely for the purpose of distributing much-needed aid, that time has come. China, Australia, India, Thailand, and perhaps even European or U.S. forces must now come together and assume a critical role in the aid effort.
In this case, the weapon of mass destruction being used by Rangoon's ruthless dictators is the denial of aid for the people of Burma. If no immediate action is taken, today, right now, the end result may be another 100,000 dead of preventable disease.
More Refugee Camps in Thailand or India?
A million people will end up trying to migrate to neighboring China, Thailand, India, or Indonesia rather than starve to death in their destroyed Burmese villages. These people will not be coming alone to seek aid. They will bring all the diseases they have contracted and may well remain for years in refugee camps before returning to their farms and villages.
Think carefully about that Monsieurs Hu Jintao, Samak Sundaravej, Manmohan Singh, and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. You have only a short window to act in Burma before the situation takes control of itself. This time the tsunami that wreaks havoc on your nations will be man-made and preventable. The cost of this delay in human terms will be an absolute disaster, for more nations than just Burma. There is no other possible conclusion.
Washington Post article
New York Times article