Myanmar generals have no sympathy for the people
Critics blasted Burma’s military regime for going ahead with plans to conduct a referendum on the country’s draft constitution amidst the devastation and mourning of Cyclone Nargis.
“It is senseless to conduct a referendum while people are filled with sorrow and worries,” said Nyo Ohn Myint, the foreign affairs in-charge of the exiled National League for Democracy (Liberated Area).
Calling the decision “inhuman,” Nyo Ohn Myint said the ruling generals have no sympathy for the people, who are now struggling to re-build homes and finding ways to survive.
At a Monday meeting with foreign diplomats and representatives of U.N. and international aid agencies, Myanmar’s foreign ministry officials said they welcomed international humanitarian assistance and urgently need roofing materials, plastic sheets and temporary tents, medicine, water purifying tablets, blankets and mosquito nets.
He added that the junta appears to be taking advantage of the survivors’ inability to focus on the referendum, slated for Saturday, according to the junta’s referendum law announced in February, the constitution will be approved if more than 50 percent of those who cast votes say “yes.”
In a statement carried by the official newspaper, Burma’s military junta, which has ruled the country for nearly two decades, on Monday indicated that the impact of the cyclone would not alter the date for the nationwide vote.
In Rangoon, Burma’s former capital city, reports said roads remained blocked by trees, electric poles were uprooted, and electricity and telephone lines remained cut-off. Internet connections were reportedly severed by the storm.
Following the cyclone, commodities skyrocketed. The price of one egg, which earlier cost 60 to 70 kyat, rose to 400 kyat while a liter of clean water shot up to 4,000 kyat from what was normally 700 to 800 kyat.
Pictures posted on several news agencies’ websites showed people busy cleaning up debris and re-building their homes. Five regions of Burma were declared disaster zones: Rangoon, Pegu, Irrawaddy division, and Mon and Karen states.