Adam Boulton
Glad To Be OUT Of Burma

350x180burma Ursula Errington, Bangkok

While foreign aid and people are struggling to get in to Burma to assist in the aftermath of the cyclone, others are relieved to have left the country.

One group of teachers from Canada, America, the UK and South Africa, told Sky News they initially felt it was morally wrong to leave the country and that they offered to stay and help.

That offer was rejected by aid agencies inside Burma. They were warned that to get involved "could get them into trouble" with the government.

British teacher Christine Sandaver was in Rangoon when the cyclone hit.

"It was terrifying" she said, "It was very windy to start with and it just built and built. I thought a branch was going to come through the roof at any moment. I was so terrified, I couldn't bring myself to look out of the window. Windows were blown in and there was glass flying everywhere."

Although the cyclone's approach was forecast on TV weather reports for the region, most Burmese people did not know it was coming.

"The government could have done a lot more to warn people," said South African Riaan O'Brien, who flew out of Burma on Saturday. "There are trucks and trucks of military on the streets so they could have spread the information, but they didn't."

One difficulty is that many rural villages don't speak Burmese, they speak their own local dialect so unless the village chief has information to disseminate, no-one knows about it.

After the 14-hour storm abated locals were on the streets trying to clear up - knowing they must take matters into their own hands. "They were using kitchen knives, utensils, anything sharp to cut through fallen trees," said Christine, "even though they knew the military have the equipment to do it."

American Ashley Ferranti, who'd been teaching English in Mandalay, about 370 miles from Rangoon said: "In the worst-hit areas people are frustrated because they know people want to help, that people are trying to get aid in and that the government hasn't been letting it through."

In other areas the teachers describe a lack of understanding about the scale of the damage and the loss of life.

Csilla Csisza wanted to encourage her students at a private school in Mandalay to raise funds. "Their first reaction was 'Why? the government will take care of it'."

Now able to enjoy a hot shower and a night out in Bangkok this group say they feel sad about what they have left behind in a country they all say they would love to return to one day.

One said:  "It's a relief to be out of Burma. But it's OK for us, we can leave. They can't."

Written by Sky News, 11/05/2008


Whilst the catasphory created by nature has been further exasberated by the powers to be, it is nothing more than unbeleivable to learn of the restrictions being imposed by military personnel, whose ultimate aim of office is the safeguard of its nationals, no matter what regional dialect.
The added frustrations you refer to are obviously sincere in their means, however, the one big problem that surrounds the many a third world nation is pride and nothing else, proven now to have cost more lives than nature intended.
Recent events within the region have no doubt taken the world by shock, however, unless those within the region are able to assist, no blame can be proportioned upon the outside world and nothing more than idiocy is to blame.
As for the future, if the region has not learnt the lessons from past such events, then nothing I'm afraid will change the cold hearts of those who fail in the provision of early warnign sysytems, unless the continually keep abreast of weather patterns.
All in all, the [Sadness] caused by this [Enigma] could have been curtailed, but now is really not a time to blame, but for the Burmese authorities to get their backside and brains in gear, allow the freeflow of aid without furter prejudice! I wonder how many preachers of regional faith have jumped to assit, Mr Ahmedinajad?

Could someone please explain why the British News refer to Burma and others refer to Myanmar?

Burmese Junta allocates funds for another new city called, "MAN deLAY"

The comments to this entry are closed.