Update: Cyclone to Cause World Rice Shortage - Until Cyclone Nargis struck, Burma was the world's 7thlargest rice producer. Now analysts are concerned thatproduction may plummet, causing rice shortageseven in first world countries. On May 8, Burma's dictatorordered that all aid to the country be embargoed, eventhough the UN continues to try to deliver it. This meansthat the chances of recovery are now minimal. It may be thatCyclone Nargis and dictator General Than Shwe have joinedhands to destroy thecountry and cause an unprecedented international shortage ofa key commodity. The question is this: did the Burma juntabuy rice futures when they saw the storm coming? Is this whythey didn't warn their people and why they are refusing toallow aid in? If so, they are making millions on thedestruction of their country and the worldwide agony thatwill result. In the US, Costco restricted rice purchasesto 2 bags per customer.
We have warned on this website before about the danger ofcyclones in the Indian Ocean striking the delta of the Indusin Bangladesh, but that flashpoint was missed by the recentIndian Ocean cyclone Nargis. Instead, it struck the IrawaddyDeltain Burma (called Myanmar by its military dictators). Fromthe moment that the cyclone struck, there was littlequestion that there would be severe damage. Subsequently,though, the fantastic cruelty of the military regime hastransformed a disaster into a catastrophe ofworld-historical proportions. The junta is led by a monster,Than Shwe, who ispersonally responsible for the agony of millions of hiscountrymen.
At present, up to 100,000 people are known to have died, butthe destruction of infrastructure, the total failure of themedical system, of roads, of water and food supplies andshelter, and the active efforts of the dictatorship to causefurther suffering by preventing aid from reaching the peoplehas insured that the death toll will continue to rise. Whereit will stop, nobody knows, but there has seldom in historybeen a more fearsome example of a government turning on itsown people.
The civilized world is trying to help, and Mercy Corps isamong the many charities attempting to get aid to thepeople. You can help by clickinghere.
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