Friday, May 30, 2008

Myanmar now says aid donors too stingy

A Jotman reader writes:
. . . you might want to use the attached AP article in your blog. At first I thought it was one of those parody/satire articles as in Not the Nation.*

Imagine the Burma generals, having wasted 4 weeks doing everything they could to top aid workers, aid programs, aid delivery, etc. now holding press conferences complaining that governments and groups around the world are actually not giving Burma and its poor suffering citizens enough aid!

Perhaps it would clarify the situation if they added the wire transfer details for their Singapore bank accounts at the bottom. . .
Myanmar blasts aid donors for not giving more (May 29, 2008)

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar's ruling junta lashed out Thursday at aid donors who promised millions of dollars for cyclone relief, saying survivors didn't need "bars of chocolate."

State-run media criticized donors for only pledging up to $150 million — a far cry from the $11 billion the junta said it needed to rebuild.

The Myanma Ahlin newspaper, a government mouthpiece, said cyclone victims from the hardest-hit areas could get by without foreign handouts.

"People from the Irrawaddy delta can survive on their own, even without bars of chocolate donated by the international community," it said, adding they can live on "fresh vegetables that grow wild in the fields and on protein-rich fish from the rivers."

The reference to chocolate bars appeared to be metaphorical. No aid agency is known to be distributing them, and they would not be practical in the country's tropical heat. Paul Risley of the U.N.'s World Food Program, which is directing the effort for emergency food supplies, said his agency provides rice, ready-to-eat meals of rice and beans and high-energy biscuits.

The newspaper commentary also slammed an unnamed monetary institution, saying its refusal to help cyclone survivors was "an act of inhumanity."

World Bank Managing Director Juan Jose Daboub said last week that the bank will not extend any financial aid or loans to Myanmar because it has not paid its debts for a decade.

The article said the same countries that criticized Myanmar for not opening its door to aid workers were being stingy with relief aid. It appeared to single out the United States without naming it.

"There is one big nation that extended economic sanctions on Myanmar even before it was known that a powerful cyclone was going to strike Myanmar," it said.
*Not the Nation is a satirical spoof of The Nation, an English language daily published in Bangkok. The Nation was strongly supportive of the 2006 military coup and has continued to promote so-called "Thai-style democracy."

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