Myanmar is facing a food shortage largely due to last year’s deadly Cyclone Nargis, which destroyed nearly all the rice crops in the fertile Ayeyarwaddy delta, the United Nations said Wednesday.
After the cyclone last year, there were several signs of impending trouble. The military junta of Myanmar turned away tons of supplies that arrived off shore with the U.S. Navy and made the jobs of relief workers, suppliers and aid groups difficult.
The ruling government even apparently lied lied to the Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon when he arrived to help speed relief efforts.
Myanmar has been quiet and unnoticed most of the time since, largely because the government controls the media, keeps unwanted eyes out, and makes money with its oil wealth, lately with new deals with China.
Rice production in the cyclone-affected areas of Ayeyarwaddy and Yangon, the largest city and former capital of Myanmar, is expected to be 50 percent of last year’s, according to the report issued by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP).
Rat infestation in western’s Myanmar’s Chin State has also contributed to the food shortage, the report says.
“Access to food remains the critical challenge for the poorest people and for vulnerable populations in remote areas of Myanmar,” Chris Kaye of the WFP.
Now reguees are fleeing Myanmar to eat — and some recently arrived in Thailand only to end up in jail. These are victims of bad government — they only want to eat.
Myanmar, like Darfur, is a humanitarian disaster that has kept going without relief because of bad government.