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Myanmar cyclone - a wake up call

New Delhi, Wed, 07 May 2008 NI Wire

The devastating tropical cyclone ‘Nargis’ that caused high level destruction of life and property has posed a severe challenge for the military junta ruled nation. As per current reports, the number of deaths in the affected region has crossed 15,000 and many more missing with fear that the actual figure may go much higher. With over 120 mph winds and a 12 feet tidal wave the disastrous was obvious which was escalated in the absence of early warning and action system.

Soon after the catastrophe the military administration asked aid from international community which was a bit unusual for the military government considering their repute in the eyes of international community. With no delay international emergency relief aids have been sent by various countries. UN officials have also announced to provide humanitarian aid of bringing relief rapidly to where it is needed. However, the military dictatorship doesn’t want to give access to foreign relief operators and wants to keep control of the aid operation.

It is the time when the military rulers need to keep aside all political differences and move forward to facilitate international relief operation. No doubt, the sudden cyclone hit has proved the failure of junta rulers in its effort and response to disaster management. It would further compound its problem drawing anger from people with Junta’s inability to have better and immediate response to such devastating natural calamities.

Despite early warning system predicting high storm which is not uncommon in this part of world, the government has done little and hence posed a helpless face to the outside. As the military junta had already promised the countrymen to held referendum on May 10, which now has been extended to May 24 owing to witnessing devastation caused by the cyclone Nargis, people already suppressed by the military rule may use the factor to punish the military junta. The military ruler has also been announced the general election scheduled to be held in 2010.

The military junta could have done much in coordination with other countries like India in predicting the impact of the storm thereby taking early measures to restraining the scale of disaster. The Junta has failed measurably and it is the need of the hour to give access to international relief operators understanding the need of the long-suffering Myanmar people, the Junta may draw some advantage from this.

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