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Myanmar says that it will now allow aid workers to enter

Myanmar has always been an eyesore to the international community. The nation has been in the grip of a brutal military dictatorship since 1962, and has in the past canceled elections that gave Aung San Suu Kii (the daughter of the founder of Burma) the majority, and ever since then, they have placed her in house arrest (it’s soon going to be 20 years now).
But their current actions have outraged the international community much more strongly. Around 3 weeks ago, a strong cyclone, ‘Nargis’, struck the country and brought with it a storm surge that struck the Irrawaddy Delta, carrying a 12 foot high water wave that caused immense devastation and sorrow to the country. First reports were that the storm caused the death of thousands (ten thousands) of people and led to a disaster situation. In such cases, the normal reaction of the international community is to mobilize aid, and get aid workers in to help in the distribution and relief planning. The military junta ruling the country however refused to let aid workers in, stopping many at the airport and stopping media and others as well. Even aid supplies that were sent in were confiscated (with the military claiming that they will organize the distribution).

However, in the reports that continued to come out of the country, it was clear that aid was not reaching the affected people, and the soldiers were not spotted trying to help people; it seemed that the army was not trying to make an active effort to setup a strong relief mechanism. This let to a massive outcry against the attitude of the junta, and people in fact started talking about forcing the junta to take relief groups and charity workers. But finally it seems that the junta is willing to let in foreign aid workers:

In what he said appeared to be a breakthrough after three weeks of obstructionism, the United Nations general secretary, Ban Ki-moon, said Friday that the leader of Myanmar’s military junta had promised to allow into the country “all aid workers” of any nationality. But Ban gave no indication when the Myanmar government would allow aid workers to enter the country and whether they would be allowed to travel to the badly-hit Irrawaddy Delta.
Relief officials said a key issue would be whether any more relief workers allowed in from outside would be allowed free access to hard-hit areas where the United Nations says only a quarter of some 2.4 million victims of the cyclone have been reached with aid. In recent days, Myanmar has allowed a modest flow of supplies and relief workers into the country, but the military government continues to bar foreigners from entering the delta region to assess damage and coordinate the delivery of aid.

A lot of aid groups are waiting to watch and see whether this is something that the junta will finally implement, or was this announcement made just to relieve some pressure and the actual implementation of this will not happen. Aid workers are waiting to see whether they can enter the most badly affected regions and make their own evaluation.

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