Aid begins and So Do Politics

Updated On: Jun 02, 2008

A week after an international donors conference in Yangon co-hosted by ASEAN and the UN, aid as begun to enter the country and reach those who need it most even in remote areas. More international relief workers have also been allowed into the country, although access to the worst hit areas of the Irrawaddy delta is not unhindered. But despite progress, estimates are that a million and a half survivors still need food and assistance on an urgent basis. (Bangkok Post 27 May, IHT 27 May)
But while the junta has shown progress on this front, concurrent developments on the political front are afoot. The junta went ahead with the referendum on a new and long planned Charter, despite criticism by the international community that the vote was a sham. The detention of opposition icon Aung San Suu Kyi has also been extended.
Politics are stirring as foreign news agencies report that opponents of the junta have staffed their first protest since the cyclone hit. The protests occurred along a road to the home of Aung San Suu Kyi and reportedly involved 120 members of the National League of Democracy. While foreign donors working in the country have remained discreet in their criticisms, the protest comes a critical juncture for the international relief effort. (WSJ May 28)