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Using a disaster for propaganda.

Not good:

Burma’s military regime distributed international aid Saturday but plastered the boxes with the names of top generals in an apparent effort to turn the relief effort for last week’s devastating cyclone into a propaganda exercise. One box bore the name of Lt. Gen. Myint Swe, a rising star in the government hierarchy, in bold letters that overshadowed a smaller label reading: “Aid from the Kingdom of Thailand.” “We have already seen regional commanders putting their names on the side of aid shipments from Asia, saying this was a gift from them and then distributing it in their region,” said Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, which campaigns for human rights and democracy in the country. “It is not going to areas where it is most in need,” he said in London.

While the regime uses this to try and bolster itself and skims the aid off from the areas that need it most, things are forecast to get worse:

Diplomats and aid groups warned the number of dead could eventually exceed 100,000 because of illnesses and said thousands of children may have been orphaned.

By comparison, the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami killed approximately 225 000 people, but in 11 countries. The potential 100 000 figure for 1 country is equally as grim.

The problem is there’s not much anyone can do about the junta’s actions other then to continue sending aid and hoping they relent to let aid workers in and/or let the aid get to where it is needed most. I hope that seeing what this regime is doing to their own people doesn’t cause others in Canada and elsewhere to stop generously giving donations/contributions towards the relief effort.


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