Coping with earthquakes

Snr-Gen Than Shwe seems to have learned some lessons from other dictators who ignore the welfare of their people, he has built a fine bunker close to his home!

When NZ and Japan were struck by earthquakes recently each country welcomed International search and rescue teams to help hard-pressed local teams.

When a nearly 7 point quake shook a tribal area in northern Burma (Myanmar) the generals who have the power reacted just as they did to previous national disasters. The Irrawaddy reports:

However, the junta once again prioritized internal security above the lives of its own downtrodden population while stubbornly refusing to request any direct international humanitarian assistance. This repeated self-centric slow disaster management was compounded by the lack of any rescue expertize or equipment.

Although the junta eventually accepted material support from the international community, the generals remained reluctant to invite in foreign rescue teams with well-equipped experts. They seem to think it would be a national humiliation, and chose to let the people suffer more and die merely to save face.

But even if such deplorable motives for the refusal of international aid comes as no surprise, it does nothing to explain why domestic efforts were similarly thwarted. Local civic groups and Burmese volunteers who—individually or in groups—rushed to the disaster areas to provide victims with assistance were turned away.

These military rulers really seem to be men without heart or soul.


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