Myanmar Military Junta siphoning off Cyclone Nargis aid

Almost two weeks back, Cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar (Burma) leaving a massive trail of death and destruction throughout the low-lying delta area near the capital of Rangoon. Estimates of the death toll have ranged from 60,000 to 100,000, with millions of other people either being left homeless or affected in some way.

Damage reports have been very sketchy and incomplete, largely because the Burmese government has accepted very little foreign aid and very few Western aid workers. UN representatives, however, have called it a "major, major disaster," on par with the effects of the Asian tsunami of 2004.

One report indicates "that the reason the aid workers are being blocked is so that the military can deliver aid selectively and so that they can appropriate the aid and pretend it was from them in the first place."

Even for the aid allowed in, there is concern about the quality of relief supplies reaching storm victims. CARE Australia staff found rotting rice being distributed to people in the worst-hit Irrawaddy Delta. "It's some of the poorest quality rice we've seen … very old."

So what about all the fresh rice and foodstuffs arriving via international aid?

A former Yangon resident said that government officials told him that high-energy biscuits rushed into Myanmar on the World Food Program's first flights were sent to a military warehouse. Speaking on condition of anonymity over fears for his safety, he told AP that the biscuits were exchanged for what officials said were "tasteless and low-quality" biscuits produced by the Industry Ministry.

This evil Burmese military government is not satisfied to just oppress and tyrannize the people of their land, they refuse to even take up the offer of international aid worrying that it might result in them losing their iron grip on the country, and that power will slip out of their hands.

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