During the time period immediately following a natural disaster, the last thing a government wants to do is play political hardball with potential aid-giving countries. Unless of course, said government is the military junta ruling Myanmar.
On Thursday, five days after a cyclone devastated the Irrawaddy delta with 120 mph winds and water surges more than fifteen feet high, the junta permitted the first shipment of foreign aid to enter the country, conspicuously refusing aid from the U.S., largely due to political differences between the two nations, some U.S. officials are speculating.
In spite of the refusal, the United States is trying to convince the junta that its offer of aid is not politically motivated. And it is clear they need it.
The U.N. estimates that, as a result of the cyclone, more than 20,000 people have died and tens of thousands more are missing. Of the survivors, millions are facing homelessness and lack adequate food and water.
There are fears that the death count could rise above 100,000 if necessary food, water and medical treatment are not made available to victims.
It is incomprehensible as to why Myanmar’s military junta would continue playing politics when so many of its citizens are suffering.
The U.S. and other nations are poised and ready to put our strongest efforts into helping the people of Myanmar. We can only hope their leaders come to their senses before more innocent people die.