Since a massive cyclone hit Myanmar Saturday, more than 22,500 people are dead and 40,000 still missing. The aftermath of the storm sent a wall of water hitting the coastal land, causing the greatest damage by ruining villages and more than 1 million homes.
Aid groups are rapidly sending in building supplies, food, and medicine to prevent malaria and cholera outbreaks that are likely from the resulting standing water and mosquitoes. But there are many areas that will be hard to access, leaving some residents struggling to find food and clean water.
“Our biggest fear is that the aftermath could be more lethal than the storm itself,” said Caryl Stern, head of the United Nations Children’s Fund in the United States.
The disaster comes in the midst of a controversial military junta in the country. In the most affected areas, the vote will be delayed for a constitutional referendum that will confirm the military government.
In the United States, President Bush offered aid under the condition that he could send in a disaster relief team, while the First Lady explained proper relief and human rights programs to the junta, who didn’t want talk–just action.
“This is a cheap shot,” said Aung Nain Oo, a Burmese political analyst. “The people are dying. This is no time for a political message to be aired. This is a time for relief. No one is asking for anything like this except the United States.”
Aid Flows to Myanmar as Death Toll Rises to 22,500 – [NY Times]