News / Asia

Praise for Burma's Quake Response

A soldier injects medicine into an earthquake survivor at a temple in Mine Lin village, Burma, March 27, 2011.
A soldier injects medicine into an earthquake survivor at a temple in Mine Lin village, Burma, March 27, 2011.

Humanitarian organizations giving relief for last week’s deadly earthquake in Burma have praised authorities for their quick response and the sharing of information.

At least 74 people in Burma, and one woman in Thailand, were killed and over 100 injured.  But aid organizations say there was a noticeable change in government attitude from past disasters when foreign help was hindered by red tape and suspicion.  

Aid organizations in Burma are complimenting the way authorities reacted to a deadly earthquake that hit the country last week.

The 6.8 magnitude quake late Thursday rocked a remote area near Burma's eastern border with Laos and Thailand and was felt as far away as Bangkok and Hanoi.

Hundreds of houses in Shan State, home to the Shan minority, were destroyed or damaged along with schools and monasteries.

Humanitarian organizations scrambled to get emergency supplies to the disaster area. But, unlike past disasters, they say they were impressed by the government’s response.

Chris Herink, Burma country director for World Vision, a Christian aid organization that has staff members living near the earthquake hit area, says Burma’s Relief and Resettlement Department contacted them about providing emergency supplies.

"Very soon after the quake they actually made a request to World Vision to provide food and water," he says. "Subsequently the Ministry of Health has asked us to provide the water purification tablets. It's actually at their request that we've done this. So, that's very positive first and foremost in that they are relying not only on their own capacity but the expertise and resources of other partners to help in this response."

Herink says World Vision was able to quickly provide food and water for over 1,000 villagers left homeless by the earthquake as well as materials for hundreds of temporary shelters.

Burma authorities allowed World Vision and other aid groups as well as the United Nations to quickly access the areas most affected in Tachileik, Tarlay and Mong Lin.

Humanitarian organizations say they are also sharing information on causalities and damage to infrastructure faster than past disasters.

Elisabeth Byrs, a spokeswoman for the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Geneva,  says authorities in Burma, also known as Myanmar, reacted swiftly and efficiently to the emergency.

"Since the last major disaster in Myanmar I think step by step the authorities have understood what the UN and the NGO can do for them and the kind of neutral and impartial assistance they can deliver to the population," says Byrs.

The cooperation stands in stark contrast to May 2008 when Burma was hit by Cyclone Nargis, the worst natural disaster in the country's history.

Nargis swept across the Irrawaddy Delta killing 140,000 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless. But Burma’s military rulers for weeks obstructed emergency aid and foreign workers from reaching those in need.

Herink says they learned a lot from Cyclone Nargis and hopefully trust more in humanitarian groups.

Relief workers say the focus now in the earthquake disaster area is to provide clean drinking water. The quake damaged water storage tanks and pipes and water supplies were contaminated.

Burma is also entering its rainy season raising the risk of landslides which could further complicate relief efforts.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid