Science, Tech & Environment

Burma government resisting aid

Aid agencies normally expect to fly in experts and supplies within 48 hours of the disaster; for Burma it's been six days since the cyclone struck and for the survivors the situation is becoming worse: there are reports of malaria outbreaks and fears of water borne illnesses are spreading. This World Food Program spokesman says the amount of aid that has come in has not kept up with the need. The problem has been Burma's apparent willingness to grant visas to aid workers, despite claims earlier this week that the government would welcome aid from outside. This aid worker says the government Hunta is dragging its feet because the regime would rather keep a veil over its country and also because two of the affected areas are armed conflict areas where the regime has been carrying out campaigns of ethnic cleansing against the local population. She says the Hunta's response so far is characteristic of their policies towards their population. This aid worker has a different take and he says he's surprised that this government so quickly said they would open up to outside assistance and believes it shows they realized the scale of the disaster's impact. He believes the reasons for the government's slow pace of action is less sinister than many assume and is more so just demonstrative of the pace of bureaucracy and closed nature of the country. He doesn't excuse the Hunta's actions.

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