Category Archives: United Nations

Women Who Are So Loved By Their People

Filipinos have Cory as their icon of democracy. Burmese on the other look at Suu Kyi as their inspiration in their struggle for freedom and democracy. But where Cory has already succeeded (restoring Phlippine democracy), Suu Kyi is still trying for over twenty years now. In fact she is under house arrest, as she has always been.

She has another 18 months again to serve having been found guilty of violating her house arrest by allowing an ill American, who swam his way to her home, to stay. Suu Kyi, a 64-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has already been in detention (house arrest) for 14 of the last 20 years.

Her detention under house arrest for another 18 months is crucial for the Junta organized-elections next year. At least she’ll be out of the political scene, a move which is perceive to undemine free and honest elections in Burma.

Of course the sentence drew outrage around the world specially from Western Government and international human rights groups. Members of the Association of South-east Asian Nations is also disappointed on the said action of one of their government member tagged as the Asean’s problem child. The European Union is now considering economic sanctions against this erring nation.

Suu Kyi has always been seeking for a peaceful means to change the nature of Burmese government into democracy. Though detained (in her own home) by Burmese authorities, she’s still a potent political power to reckon; feared most by the Military Junta. The kind of supports she gets from the people places is feared most by the Military Junta.

Burmese generals know pretty well that among their ranks are young and idealistic military men who are only waiting for the right time to topple this decades long military government. Suu Kyi provides the inspiration for the transfer of power in the hands of civilian authorities.

“I hope we can all work for peace and prosperity of the country,” Suu Kyi said in a soft voice to diplomats seated nearby who attended this 90-minute court session. She’s still composed and commands great respect and authority.

Cory is gone, mourned by millions of Filipinos who admire and revere her commitment to freedom and democracy; but Suu Kyi is still alive to continue with her struggle for her country’s freedom and democracy. As Cory had the backing of people behind her, Suu Kyi too has the support of millions of Burmese people in her ideals and quest for freedom and democracy.

It’s a matter of time, no guns and cannons can stifle the resilliency of people to fight for their freedom. Suu Kyi will always be there to give them that inspiration while the Military Junta trembles upon their destruction.

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Filed under democracy, Economic Survival, government, Heroism, Justice, Myanmar Struggle for Freedom, Philippine government, politics, UN Security Council, United Nations, Wealth, Poverty, women

The Perceived Defeat of the Reproductive Health Bill, Could the Church Coerce Congress?

If we believe on what the  Roman Catholic church on Thursday that it has sufficient support in the Philippine congress to defeat a “controversial family planning bill promoting sex education and the use of contraceptives” then we expect chaos brought about by unabated increase of population in the country.

The bishops according to Maria Fenny Tatad, executive director of the church lobby group Bishops-Legislators Caucus of the Philippines, believe they have a number of congressmen in the House of Representatives who could block the passage of the Reproductive Health Care Act. Out of the 238 members of the House of Representatives only 99 congressmen do support the bill.

Only 99 members of the 238-member House of Representatives have openly said they will support the Reproductive Health Care Act, while the rest are expected to side with the church, Tatad said. Population control is a highly politicized issue in the Philippines, where more than 80 percent of the 90 million population are Catholics.

I am not sure how true is this claim but the Catholic church in the Philippines “wields considerable public influence, frowns on any artificial form of birth control and has been waging a high-profile campaign to block the passage of the bill, which is now before congress,” as circulated in the news. However recent surveys showed that most Catholics are in favor of family planning and sex education to be taught in the public school. What is the Catholic church trying to imply with this statement? Are the bishops giving the public the impression that the Catholic church maintains a strong influence in the House of Representatives? I don’t think the Catholic church has that control anymore on the people in so far as population issues are concerned. It is highly improbable for the Catholic church to make one politician lose during the next election just because he supported the Reproductive Health Bill. I still believe people vote with their conscience not on what the church says. So there is no basis of that fear for congressmen losing because the priests control the minds of their parishioners. 

Philippine Population Commission has always mentained the importance of curbing incidence of birth so as not to overpopulate the country. The Philippine population growth rate of 2.04 according to International aid agencies and economists is one of of Asia’s highest. But the Catholic church is against these International agencies supporting the Reproductive Health Bill that will curb rapid population growth but insures the health of women on reproductive ages.

Contrary to what the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life say, the Reproductive Health Bill which includes family planning program, sex education, and advice on birth control, may not necessarily immoral. It only enhances people perspectives on reproductive  health and propagate values on responsible parenthood. Liberal minded people these days may understand which is socially appropriate without necessarily being “immoral.”

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Obama is now the 44th US President, there is nothing else you can do Colegiala girl

I know he is going to win. He has all the indications to win. People love him. It is not the race but a promise of better economy that made him win. He is bi-racial, it is wrong to say he is the first African American to win as the president of the United States. He is not a hero like McCain, but he knows what it takes to be a hero. He is popular among the poor being a community organizer and having been exposed to the poverty of South East Asia. He deserves to win. Perhaps the world will be a more peaceful and productive world with him as the president of the United States. Perhaps war in Middle East would soon be over and thousands of American soldiers in Iraq will be home to be with their love ones in the the US. War is bitter, we are all losers. We need peace for that’s the only way the world would be peaceful and prosperous. 

Kaya Colegialagirl huwag ka nang malungkot. Huwag ka nang umiyak. Sayang lang ang iyong mga luha. Tanggapin mo na ang katotohanan na sawang-sawa na ang buong mundo sa giyera. Kailangang ang isang taong may malasakit sa kapayapaan, isang taong ayaw sa digmaan, at isang taong gumagamit ng mga mapayapang pamamaraan para lutasin ang mga gusot  sa sandaigdigan.

Mabuhay ka Obama. Ikaw talaga ang nahirang para maging pangulo ng America. Nasa iyong mga kamay ngayon ang kapayapaan, panindigan mo sana ang iyong mga pangako at gawan ng paraan itong global economic crisis. Nasa iyong mga palad ang Kapalaran ng buong daigdig. Huwag mo sanang palalampasin ang pagkakataong ibinigay sa iyo. Napili ka bilang pangulo ng America dahil naniniwala sila na masa karapat-dapat kang pagkatiwalaan kay sa iyong katunggaling si McCain. Kaya lang sir, huwag mo sanang bibigoin ang lahat na sumuporta sa iyo.

At sa iyo naman Colegiala girl, dahil si McCain ang pinili mo, karapat-dapat ka lang na magpakain sa akin. Kasi kung si McCain naman ang nanalo, pakakainin din kita ng libre kagaya nang gagawin mo sa akin ngayon. Huwag ka nang malungkot na natalo si Sarah Palin dahil nandiyan pa rin si Vilma Santos. Anong malay mo siya ang mananalong Vice-president sa 2010. E di parang nanalo na rin si Sara Palin. Di ba magkamukha sila?

Hindi sa ako ay nangangantiyaw sa iyo, pero saan mang labanan ay may nananalo at may natatalo. Nagkataon lang ako ang nanalo sa ating pustahan kaya dapat lang na paninidigan mo ang ating kasunduan. Huwag kang mag-alala. Hindi naman ako matakaw gaya nang sinabi mo. Pero titiyakin ko sa iyon kulang ang isang pizza para sa akin. At iyong japanese food, maaring pag-usapan natin na kapag nakuha mo na lang ang iyong bonus. Huwag ka sanang malulungkot dahil sa bawat pagkabigo ay may naghihintay ng tagumpay.

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The foundation of trust, the population management debate

Trust is defined as “firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing.” This phenomenon has been extensively explored by various disciplines across the field of social sciences, including economics, social psychology, and political science. And socio-behaviorist have different ways of looking at it.

 

Rousseau and her colleagues define it in this manner. “Trust is a psychological state comprising the intention to accept vulnerability based upon positive expectations of the intentions or behavior of another.” Likewise, Lewicki and his colleagues describe trust as “an individual’s belief in, and willingness to act on the basis of, the words, actions, and decisions of another.” Because we are not the only organism in the social environment we exist, trust transpires from our interdependence with others. We depend on others to help “us obtain, or at least not to frustrate, the outcomes we value,” according to Lewicki and Tomlinson.

 

“Trust has been identified as a key element of successful conflict resolution (including negotiation and mediation). This is not surprising insofar as trust is associated with enhanced cooperation, information sharing, and problem solving.” In the light of this, there are three factors that influence trustworthy behavior. Ability, assessment of other’s knowledge, skill, or competency, it requires some sense that the other is able to perform in a matter that meets expectations. Integrity, the degree to which the trustee adheres to principles that is acceptable to the trustor. Trust in this context is based on “consistency of past actions, credibility of communications, commitment to standards and fairness, and the congruence of the other’s words and deeds.” Benevolence, trusted individuals are concerned enough about promoting our welfare interests and at the same manner do not impede them.   

 

In the case of our population program, which is more trusted here, those who propose and support population laws/policies that governs population management in the country or those who impede them because they find it as something immoral and unnecessarily counter productive? 

 

Why do we trust the position of the Catholic Church in its pro-life stance?

 

If one has to trust the words of Francisco Tatad, this is what he says in favor of the position of the Catholic Church in its pro-life stance.

 

“The population has many problems. But population is not itself the problem. Assuming there are problems associated with population growth, the reproductive health bill does not provide any answers. I hope the following will help put this bill to rest and allow the nation to devote its time, energy and resources to its real and more pressing problems.”

 

There are two items in his views which worth looking into:

 

There is no “population explosion” and the country is not overpopulated.

”The population growth rate and the total fertility rate (TFR) have declined. The National Statistics Office puts the growth rate at 2.04 %, the TFR at 3.02. However, the CIA World Factbook (2008), for one, puts the growth rate at 1.728%, the TFR at 3.00.” 

“The country has a population density of 277 Filipinos per square km, with a GDP per capita (purchasing power parity) of $,3400”

”This means a Filipino has more years to be productive than his counterpart in the developed world, where the population is graying and dying, without adequate replacement because of negative birth rates.”

 

The Bill according to him is destructive of public morals and family values

”It seeks to legislate a hedonistic sex-oriented lifestyle whose aim is to assure couples and everybody else of “a safe and satisfying sex life” (the other term for contraceptive sex), instead of a mutually fulfilling conjugal life, and ultimately change time-honored Filipino values about human life, family life, marriage, in favor of the most destructive counter-values that are wreaking havoc on the morals of many consumerist societies.” 

But what is there too in the statements of the pro Reproductive Health Bill that deserve our trust?

 

In his privilege speech in the Congress, proponent of the Reproductive Health Bill Congressman Edcel Lagman has this to say.

 

“The use of contraceptives for family planning does not make acceptors bad Catholics. But having more children whom parent can ill-afford to feed, educate, medicate, guide, and love makes them irresponsible regardless of their religion.”

 

“We must open our minds to the import and merits of the reproductive health bill and reject contrived criticisms, expose barefaced lies, refute malicious innuendoes, and resist menacing threats.”

 

AKBAYAN Representative Risa Hontiveros on the other hand also expresses the significance of recognizing the health of every woman still in the reproductive age in this country. She says:

 

“We may not be united in supporting the RH bill, but we must at the very least recognize that reproductive health is a women’s issue. It is us, after all, who bear and nurture the child.”

 

One group of supporting the Reproductive Health Bill asks: “Why is it important to focus on reproductive health?”

 

The results of the 2003 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) show that Filipino women, especially among the ranks of the poor, still bear more children than they desire.

Only half of married women practice family planning because of lack of information and proper knowledge of various family planning methods and services. The greater proportion of these women live in rural areas where there are few service providers and where services are scarce and inaccessible.

 

Poor women have three times more children than the rich (5.9 children for the poor and 2.0 for the rich), give birth to their first child at a younger age, and have more problems spacing their children than wealthier women.

 

Likewise, men who belong to the poorest segments of society have more children (5) compared to those who belong to the richest sectors (3). One in four pregnancies is mistimed and one in five is not wanted at all.

Meanwhile, despite the advances made in medicine, maternal health remains problematic in the country:

 

Maternal mortality is pegged at a disturbing 162 for every 100,000 live births (2006 Family Planning Survey). The only exceptions are a handful of areas where there is an efficient program on maternal and child health, such as the municipality of Carmen, Bohol. The vast majority of local governments have yet to establish a system that would drastically reduce maternal mortality.

Only 38 percent of deliveries have been found to be attended by skilled health professionals (2003 NDHS). Majority still seek the services of traditional hilots because they could not afford birthing in hospitals or because of lack of proper information.

 

Unless these people’s needs are addressed, Filipinos will keep on having more children than they want and can afford to have, and thousands of mothers will continue to die from causes that could have been prevented, were they only provided with complete information and services on reproductive health.

 

Who can be trusted?

 

The debate on population has been going on for years. Majority of people have been confused and keep confusing themselves with these varying views. But who among them are really telling the truth? Who among them is really concerned about life and the conditions for a rightful living? Who among them shows real benevolence in looking into the social and economic interest of the people? Unless population views are really guided by the interest of the people morally, spiritually, and physically it will be difficult to build our trust on whoever is speaking pro or against the Reproductive Health Bill.

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Diverse Constructs on the Passing of the Reproductive Health Bill

Right now the Philippine Congress is debating on the issues confronting the Reproductive Health Bill sponsored by Albay representative Edcel Lagman. House Bill 5043, or “An Act Providing for a National Policy on Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population Development which requires a mandatory age-appropriate reproductive health education; the inclusion of  contraceptives in the purchase by state hospital of medicines and supplies; local governments’ employment of an adequate number of midwives or attendants for a ratio of one for every 150 deliveries per year; an emergency obstetric care maternal death review; and provision of mobile health care services.

 

The proposed law faces staunch opposition from Catholic Church groups and some 75 lawmakers in the House. 

 

Significance of the Bill

 

For those who are in favor of the passing of the bill on Reproductive Health consider the light of the following constructs as the factors for its passage.

 

High fertility rate and rapid population growth can be detrimental to the socio-economic development of the country.  There is a need to curve incidence of birth so as to peg the Philippine population to 86 million Filipinos for the sake of coping up with limited resources such as food, shelter, and basic social and health services.

 

It has been proven ever since on many studies that correlation between rapid population growth and poverty incidence do exist.  But advocates of population management however caution that poverty is actually an offshoot of bad governance and weak economic growth. It is only exacerbated by high fertility rate and rapid population growth.

 

Incidentally rapid population growth is the result of individual decisions. Combining all these individual decisions may result in rapid population growth which in turns affects investment in physical and human capital. It is expected that the government needs to spend a lot of funds on public and social services. Right now we have a problem on limited classrooms in our school system, a manifestation of poorly managed growth in the population. The absence of a population policy in the Philippines adds to the negative economic and development growth as indicative of low tax base and expenditure issues.   

The ultimate victims to overpopulation are the poor families who have more children than they can support. Data show in the 2003 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) that poverty incidence in families with nine or more children is pegged at 57 percent while it is only 10 percent to families with only one child.

 

Reasons for Killing the Bill

 

Contrary to the proponent and supporters of the bill, they want it “killed” the soonest so it will not prosper and be passed by Congress. Their negative view on the passage of the Bill is based on the following,

 

Life is sacred, human life and family values should be respected. There are those who believe that once the HB   812 Reproductive Health Care Act of 2003 once legislated will lead to anti-life laws such as euthanasia, abortion, two-child policy, and homosexuality.  Catholics are against the artificial method of birth control such as use of pills and condoms because clergies found it to be “abortificient” or tantamount to abortion. There is a need to protect the life of the unborn. Their constructs saddle primarily on promoting the sanctity of life and safeguarding the moral grounds of human existence. They believe that for as long as the family is still strong and the fundamental value of life is protected, there is no reason that families can not recover from the degrading conditions of poverty.

 

Unfortunately those who want to kill the Bill do not consider overpopulation as a problem. They may recognize economic problems, unity, good politics as essential but not high birth rate and high fertility rate. The population density is not even critical the way they look at 200 to 270 people per square kilometer. They contend that the Malthusian fear has been settled long ago and that it does not hold water anymore. There is no need to fear about scarcity of goods and resources since the society is already aided by technology and economic investments to survive.

 

It is in the context of belief of those who oppose the bill that the best form of birth regulation in both the Scriptures and reason is self-discipline. So why spend P2 billion in taxpayers’ money to buy contraceptives when all the couple should do is to practice self-discipline and natural method of birth control? Better this amount would go to education, livelihood and basic social services.

 

Some Critical Points to Consider

 

Population grows in geometric proportion while resources increase arithmetically. Population needs grows higher as the population increases in a manner that resources could hardly meet these needs. Our economy is not growing fast enough to draw resources needed by a growing population.

 

Likewise, there is also a danger of adopting the Western paradigm on ‘zero population growth’ as this will only lead to the irreversible scenario of a graying population that shall eventually “depletes their respective economies in heavy state subsidies.”

 

But it’s a fact also that our environment degenerates as a result of overpopulation and overproduction of goods to meet and sustain provision for population needs.

           

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Filed under government, Philippine government, politics, Population Control, Religion, Reproductive Health, United Nations

Iran is prepared to react fiercely if attacked by Israel or the United States

Iran will continue to supply crude oil even if attacked however it would react fiercely in an unimaginable reaction. Is Tehran bluffing or simply stating facts on the magnitude of what it could do if pushed to the limits and go on war with Israel or the United States?

Iran says any attack would provoke fierce reaction

By GEORGE JAHN, Associated Press Writer

MADRID, Spain – With Middle East tensions building, Iran’s oil minister warned Wednesday that an attack on his country would provoke an unimaginably fierce response.

Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari said, however, that Tehran would not cut oil deliveries and would continue supplying the market even if struck by Israel or the United States.

Tehran “is not going to be quiet,” if attacked, Nozari told reporters. It’s “going to react fiercely, and nobody can imagine what would be the reaction of Iran,” he added.

Over the weekend, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards warned that Tehran would respond to an attack by barraging Israel with missiles and could seize control of a key oil passageway in the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz.

But a senior U.S. military commander said Wednesday that Washington would not allow that to happen.

Vice Adm. Kevin Cosgriff, commander of the 5th Fleet spoke to reporters after talks withnaval commanders of Gulf countries in the United Arab Emirates capital of Abu Dhabi. The one-day meeting was to focus on the security of the region’s maritime and trade routes and the threat of terrorism.

The 5th Fleet is based in Bahrain, across the Gulf from Iran. Cosgriff said that if Iran choked off the Strait of Hormuz, it would be “saying to the world that 40 percent of oil is now held hostage by a single country.”

“We will not allow Iran to close it,” he told reporters.

Minister Nozari addressed rising tensions outside the 19th World Petroleum Congress after a presentation on Iran’s oil and gas industry to a packed audience, including representatives of European and U.S. energy companies.

Tehran is under U.N., U.S. and European sanctions because it has defied U.N. Security Council demands to suspend its uranium enrichment program. But with oil supplies tight and prices at unprecedented levels, the energy industry remains tempted by the possibilities of investing in Iran, OPEC’s second largest oil producer and No. 2 in terms of the world’s natural gas reserves.

President Bush has repeatedly said that a military strike on Tehran is possible as a last-resort if Iran continues to pursue uranium enrichment and fails to heed other Security Council demands.

Last month, Israel sent warplanes on a major exercise in the eastern Mediterranean that U.S. officials said was a message to Iran — a show of force as well as practice in the operations needed for a long-range strike mission.

ABC News quoted an unnamed senior Pentagon official warning of an “increasing likelihood” that Israel will strike Iran’s nuclear facilities before the end of the year.

Nozari said such any attack would send oil prices further into uncharted territory.

“We don’t think the wise people in the world even think about any action like that,” he said. “Can you imagine … what would be the result in the oil market?”

Oil prices hit a record high above $143 this week.

But Nozari indicated Iran would not withhold its crude from the market even if attacked.

“Iran has always been a reliable source of supply to the market, and Iran remains a (reliable) source of supply,” he said.

He dismissed suggestions that the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program has diminished Iran’s oil and gas exports, despite U.S. sanctions that prohibit American companies from doing business with Tehran and growing pressure from Washington on other countries to follow suit.

“We have increased our production in the past two years by 250,000 barrels a day and we have added to the production of our gas,” he told the AP

 

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Goodbye My Love—Myanmar military junta rejecting the much needed help

(AFP Photo: American naval ships barred from bringing in aids to the cyclone victims)

Millions are going hungry in the cyclone devastated Myanmar, the US is in a position to provide that much needed help but the paranoid military junta sent back naval ships full of relief supplies. Meanwhile, victims are showing “signs of mental health problems.” A lot of them are very sad and experience difficulty of sleeping at night.

Relief workers have found many victims who only received little assistance and in dire need of food, shelter and clean water.They said these items remain the top priority needs. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) also fear that “many are also losing the will to survive.”

 

US flotilla leaving Myanmar coast with aid aboard

YANGON, Myanmar – U.S. Navy ships laden with relief supplies will steam away from Myanmar’s coast Thursday, their helicopters barred by the ruling junta even though millions of cyclone survivors need food, shelter or medical care.

More than a month after the storm, many people in stricken areas still have received no aid at all and the military regime continued to impose constraints on international rescue efforts, humanitarian groups said Wednesday.

“I am both saddened and frustrated to know that we have been in a position to help ease the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people and help mitigate further loss of life, but have been unable to do so because of the unrelenting position of the Burma military junta,” said Adm. Timothy J. Keating, head of the U.S. Pacific Command. Myanmar is also known as Burma.

The USS Essex and three other amphibious assault ships, which have been in international waters off Myanmar since May 13, will continue with their previously scheduled missions, Keating said in a statement issued by his headquarters in Hawaii.

But Keating added that “should the Burmese rulers have a change of heart and request our full assistance for their suffering people, we are prepared to help.”

He said the U.S. had made “at least 15 attempts” to persuade the junta to allow the ships, which carry 22 medium and heavy helicopters, four landing craft and 5,000 sailors and Marines, to deliver aid directly to victims in Myanmar’s most badly damaged areas.

The junta also refused help from French and British warships that broke off from scheduled missions to stand by off Myanmar.

U.S. military C-130 transport planes hare being allowed to fly in relief supplies to Yangon, the country’s biggest city, from a temporary base in Thailand.

Some 1.3 million survivors have been reached with assistance by local and international aid groups, the Red Cross or U.N. agencies, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

But U.N. officials estimated 1.1 million more still needed help. “There remains a serious lack of sufficient and sustained humanitarian assistance for the affected populations,” the agency warned.

The government says 78,000 people were killed by the May 2-3 cyclone and 56,000 more are unaccounted for.

The junta, which explicitly rejected the use of foreign military helicopters in the relief effort, has not authorized the entry of nine civilian helicopters flying on behalf of the U.N. World Food Program though they have been in Thailand since last week.

Only one helicopter chartered by the WFP was allowed in more than a week ago and it didn’t begin flying supply missions from Yangon to the hard-hit Irrawaddy delta until Monday.

Restrictions on visa and travel permission for foreign workers, as well as on entry of some equipment, are hampering the aid effort, despite a pledge made almost two weeks ago by the junta’s leader, Senior Gen. Than Shwe, to U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-moon to allow foreign aid workers free access to devastated areas.

“The small number of visas and the short duration of travel permits for access” into the delta area “continue to impose serious constraints on the effectiveness of overall operations,” the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said Wednesday.

In Washington, White House secretary Dana Perino criticized Myanmar’s ruling generals for hindering aid efforts.

“The Burmese regime must permit all international aid workers the access necessary to provide the urgently needed assistance,” Perino said. “There is no more time to waste.”

Myanmar, meanwhile, reportedly has been able to field only seven helicopters of its own.

Paul Risley, a spokesman for the World Food Program, said the junta’s refusal to let military helicopters work in the country meant the U.N. had to charter large civilian aircraft, adding greatly to his agency’s costs.

The WFP has budgeted $70 million for food and ground operations and nearly as much — $50 million — to charter the 10 helicopters, he said. It has received contributions of about $50 million toward the total, he added.

In previous large-scale disasters — such as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and Pakistan’s 2005 earthquake — helicopters on loan from friendly nations’ militaries were used to rush in emergency supplies, he said.

“For political reasons, the Myanmar government was reluctant to approve their use,” Risley said.

The isolationist regime is extremely suspicious of outsiders, particularly of the U.S. and other Western nations that have criticized its harsh treatment of democracy advocates.

Despite the problems, the World Health Organization reported some cause for optimism.

In a report circulated Wednesday, it cited an assessment by the U.N. Children’s Fund of conditions in hard-to-reach areas outside the town of Bogalay, one of the areas worst affected by the storm.

It quoted the assessment as saying that “there were no post-cyclone deaths in any of the villages assessed” as well as no signs of acute malnutrition. It also said suitable sources were found for clean water, assuming the use of some form of treatment.

The findings appeared to counteract fears there could be a “second wave” of deaths after the cyclone due to the lack of immediate large-scale assistance.

However, Doctors Without Borders warned that as monsoon rains become heavier, there will be more challenges supplying aid and keeping survivors healthy.

Sailing open boats with relief workers and supplies is becoming more difficult “because of the speed of the wind, because of the current, the storm,” said Souheil Reaiche, the group’s mission chief in Myanmar. “So they have to be careful.”

Mobile clinics are filling in for the delta’s wrecked medical facilities, but they can only do basic health care, Reaiche said.

People will develop more respiratory infections because they don’t have proper shelter, he said. With mosquitoes beginning to recover from the cyclone’s inundation, there are worries about dengue fever and malaria, he said.

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