Page last updated at 15:07 GMT, Monday, 12 May 2008 16:07 UK

Burmese blog despair in the Delta

Children hold their hands out for aid, Rangoon, 12/05
Aid is slowly getting through to those who need it

Experts have warned that the aid trickling into Burma is inadequate for the scale of the disaster.

Burmese blogs and news sites have been documenting the devastation in the Delta region and efforts to bring aid to those worst affected.


Burma's low-lying Irrawaddy Delta region bore the brunt of Cyclone Nargis as it swept through the country. For many days there was a resounding silence from the region which found itself at the eye of the storm.

Most of the people lost their family members while they were clinging to each other... Many people are traumatized
Survivor, Irrawaddy Delta
Reporters for various Burmese news sites have now returned to their head offices with harrowing tales of life after the storm for people surrounded by death in a landscape no longer recognisable to them.

A reporter for the Mizzima news site, based in India and run by Burmese exiles, interviewed some survivors.

Twelve-year-old Ma Ei Lay walked for days to the nearest township after her family perished in the storm. "I waded through the corpses and came back to my village. I could not recognise my own village. Only some trees were left without leaves."

Her journey was through a wasteland with no food or aid. "I drank coconut milk. There was no water on the way."

An anonymous survivor talks about the psychological damage sustained. "Most of the people lost their family members while they were clinging to each other... Many people are traumatised and have a lost look on their face as if they are semi-unconscious."

The desperate situation in the delta is documented in other exile Burmese news sites such as Yoma3 which has heard of the spread of disease among the cyclone victims in Bogalay.

A resident of the south-western township of Kyonmange who is helping the cyclone victims there gave grisly detail to the Democratic Voice of Burma about corpses being found without ears and hands - interpreted as evidence of looting.

"Those who found the corpses probably cut off the ears and hands to take the earrings and bracelets," he said.

The Rule of Lords blog is posting regular and thorough translations of the most compelling stories from Burmese news sites.

People inside Burma have also been giving their updates from the disaster zone. Burmese blogger Nyi Lynn Seck has a section of his blog devoted to daily updates from the Delta region.

"They are seeing dead bodies," he writes. "Nobody has cremated or buried these dead bodies." He also carries a report of how one private donor in Bogalay was forced to give his donation to the local authorities rather than people in need.


There are those in the Burmese diaspora with relatives in the worst-affected areas who have waited for days with no news from home.

Dr Lun Shwe says on his Burmese language blog that his wife's family is from Bogalay - one of the worst hit areas.

"We are very anxious and desperate. We are really worried. We are waiting for news but we know it will probably be bad news," he says in plea entitled "Give back our Irrawaddy!"

He focuses his anger on the failure of the government to warn the public of the advent of the storm.

Ko Moe Thee, a well-known student leader from the 1988 uprising, writes in his US-based blog Golden Colour Revolution posts an e-mail he received from a relief mission which describes how the authorities have obstructed their efforts to distribute aid.

"Now, all the NGOs are trying to support and go to the affected area, and but we cannot go immediately as gov don't want to permit it," the email says.

We are really worried. We are waiting for news but we know it will probably be bad news
Dr Lun Shwe
"So you can think and imagine of the people in delta region. U know, this is not the politic, it's really humanity matter," the message continues.

Nyi Lynn Seck's blog grabs the attention of the Fear from Freedom blogger.

For Fear from Freedom, the cyclone aftermath has a political message: "These are the educated youth of Myanmar with no hope for their future inside the country." Myat Thurahas also heard from his family once more and reports on the price rises affecting residents in Rangoon.


A number of blogs have now emerged dedicated to tracking the crisis in Burma and galvanising others to do all they can to help.

The Moegyo website run by a group of Burmese outside the country is documenting its efforts to track the situation in the country and to organise aid.

It has access to accounts and pictures from the badly affected areas.

Burma emergency is a comprehensive site with links to the latest reports about the situation in Burma, facebook groups devoted to fundraising for the cyclone and interviews with those responsible for distributing aid.


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