Cyclones, Earthquakes, Floods, Hurricanes, Tsunamis, Typhons kill. The number of victims though is actually determined by unnatural means directly related to natural disaster. So far Myanmar (despotic for 'Burma') reckons that nearly 23K are confirmed dead and another 42K are missing.
Great Britain says casualties could top the 100K mark. But Burma's own unelected illegitimate rulers are awful slow in accepting and directing aid sent to save and comfort.
"The full scale of the disaster will only become apparent over the next few
days as relief teams are able to reach remote communities in cyclone-affected
areas. Assessments by the UN and other international agencies have been delayed
by difficulties with communications and access.
The situation is becoming increasingly perilous, with relief capacity inside the country already severely stretched. This is an ongoing crisis for the Burmese people, and we are working hard with others in the International Community to do all we can for the relief effort."
More people actually die after the hit than during it. Contaminated water spreads infection and disease. No shelter, no sanitation and no clean aqua transform disaster and tragedy into catastrophe.
So far the regime's response to the torment of their own people has been 'incendiary'
"We believe that the best way forward would be for the junta to provide
access, which the whole international community - including Ban Ki-moon -
"That's why we've been making direct approaches, but we've also been
speaking to other governments, including the government of China, urging them
that there should be a united front to say that the access needs to be provided
The Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma (way back in 1989 the military in Burma has dug Myanmar as a conventional name for the state which is a derivative of the Burmese short-form name Myanma Naingngandaw)
Burma is actually a resource rich land - oil, timber, precious stones and jade. CIA's dossier is quite revealing. A pop of 47.7 million - a lit rate of almost 90% and 31.5K online.
"Suffering from pervasive government controls, inefficient economic
policies, and rural poverty. The junta took steps in the early 1990s to
liberalize the economy after decades of failure under the "Burmese Way to
Socialism," but those efforts stalled, and some of the liberalization measures
Despite Burma's increasing oil and gas revenue, socio-economic conditions
have deteriorated due to the regime's mismanagement of the economy. Lacking
monetary or fiscal stability, the economy suffers from serious macroeconomic
Most overseas development assistance ceased after the junta began to
suppress the democracy movement in 1988 and subsequently refused to honor the
results of the 1990 legislative elections."
And that's the real rub. Burma's generals know what happens when foreign humanitarians show up with goodies and hope for survivors. The relief effort after the 2004 tsunami brought change in Aceh where the massive international presence was one of the factors that persuaded the Indonesian government and rebels to bring their long conflict to an end.
Political change came to Pakistan after large numbers of foreigners were allowed into Kashmir after the earthquake there in 2005.
Planet Myanmar is a model for regime change. Fully stocked with misery, denied their fair and square elected leaders by junta and secret police, Burma fits the descript of a regime that torments it's own people - and for a xenophobic clique of intolerant self aggrandizing slave traders
"Burma is a source country for men, women, and children trafficked to East
and Southeast Asia for sexual exploitation, domestic service, and forced
commercial labor; a significant number of victims are economic migrants who
wind up in forced or bonded labor and forced prostitution.
Burma is a country of transit and destination for women trafficked from China for sexual exploitation; internal trafficking of persons occurs primarily for labor in industrial zones and agricultural estates; internal trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation occurs from villages to urban centers and other areas; the military junta's economic mismanagement, human rights abuses, and policy of using forced labor are driving factors behind Burma's large trafficking problem.
Burma does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of
trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so
This is significant. The UN should be used as a weapon like France hints to bring up the 'Atrocity Prevention' clause to drive the regime onto the defensive before driving them out of biz.
The last thing the generals now want is an influx of foreign aid officials and journalists to upset the equilibrium just as it holds a faux referendum on the new 'constitution' recently dreamed up.
Letting in a huge influx of foreigners (many dying to get there and render aid) could fuel more criticism of their political reforms, their corrupt inept gov and their 400K military that is actually quite good at squashing monks and unarmed protesters than building roads, managing humanitarian crisis and tending to their own people.
This horrible event and the Burmese Generals Clique horrific apathy about it could very well be an opportunity to implement the semi non violent regime change operational methodologies like Great Britain laid out in the Democratic Imperatives:
"In some cases, sanctions are not enough. In extreme cases the failure of states
to exercise their responsibility to protect their own civilians from genocide or
ethnic cleansing warrant military intervention on humanitarian grounds."
Former UN Relief cat Jan Egeland agrees -