Both Burma and South Western China were devastated by natural disaster. Both countries have forged close ties but differed in the manner they handled humanitarian work to help their citizens.
Chinese government has mobilised more than 120,000 soldiers into the epic centre and many of them are carrying out cleaning and rescue work round the clock. However, more than 28,000 people perished. Both President Wen Jiabao and Premier Hu Jintao have visited the areas and pledged help for the victims.
I have visited Chengdu back in 2005. It is a beautiful city and rated as one of the most livable in China. It is hard to see the destructions suffered by the province on TV. I can only hope for the best.
In Burma, the cyclone was even more destructive. Closer to the banks of the Irrawaddy river, long providing a source of water and protein to Burmese, more than 78,000 people have perished. International observers have put the figure even higher, 128,000. More than 2 million people are now exposed to a variety of diseases.
Yet, the junta government has refused visas for scores of rescue workers. As I write, ships laden with critical supplies are waiting off the coast of Burma hoping to reach the worst hit areas. Why?
The junta government is afraid of outside interference of its politics. This is a recalcitrant government, long defied the norms of Asean regionalisation. It is hoped that Asean must interfere to pressure the junta government to speed up rescue work. Quite obvious the junta government is not able to muster the scale of help and relief work like the Chinese. Hence, most of the victims would have their death warrants signed by the neglect of their own government.
We must be more vocal.
Please help out these two areas as much as you could.