Loory: Sometimes it is impossible to understand the cruelty of nature. We marvel at its beauty, but we grow incredulous when natural disaster strikes. Can any of us remember when two such cataclysmic events as the Myanmar cyclone and the Chinese earthquake hit within a week of each other? In China, estimates say 34,000 people, including school children, died in just a few seconds of deep earth rumble. In Myanmar, a country better known as Burma, about 24,000 died as the high winds and rains of a category 7.6 cyclone roared across the Irrawaddy River Delta, perhaps the richest rice-growing area in the world. The death toll could grow to more than 100,000. In China, the government reacted quickly and openly to bring the crisis under control. In Myanmar, the military junta that controls the country acted as if nothing serious had happened. It created difficulties for international donors to send aid. It conducted a referendum allowing the junta to remain in uncontested power for years to come, while the floodwaters were still receding. It would not allow journalists into Myanmar to cover the story. What can be done to bring the disasters under control? Is the recovery beginning to come along in Myanmar, or is it still chaotic?
Burma junta rejects outside recovery efforts
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