Challenge that NGOs Face In Myanmar

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By KRISTIN HERRERA-CARRASCO, THE NEW YORK TIMES

Myanmar, or Burma, suffers from the effects of the terrible junta rule that lasted from the 1960s to 2011. Even now, there is fear that those who held power in those dark days still run among the top tiers of society, though now more so behind the scenes – specifically within the selling of jade, one of Burma’s most profitable businesses. Essentially, as the effects of Cyclone Nargis can still be felt among survivors.

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) can help to stop any and all efforts that may be tried by the junta to retain the control that was lost after the National League for Democracy’s majority win of the November 2015 elections. Ideally, there should be access to healthcare services before anything. Those who still suffer homelessness could be aided in shelter and with food. For those who had made it out of the cyclone without losing so much, perhaps they may be offered educational services.

In the future, for any nation that might suffer a disaster in a manner like this – in which the government refuses aid from outside sources – there may be a need to enter at risk.  If the lives of the people being quite nearly held captive are to be valued, I cannot imagine that waiting for the corrupt government to allow entry would be conducive to the aid of the survivors.  In some cases, rations or other provisions might be flown in. If risk must be undeniably reduced, then NGOs must negotiate aggressively with the officials. However, no force should be used.

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