Military junta, afraid of mutiny, accused of hoarding relief supplies for military personnel.
Burmese junta accused of hoarding food aid and handing out rotten rice
By Brian Rex in Rangoon
Wednesday, 14 May 2008
Relief agencies have accused the Burmese military authorities of keeping the best-quality supplies donated for victims of Cyclone Nargis and handing out rotten and low-grade food. The United Nations says only a small portion of aid is getting through.
Aid workers in the Irrawaddy delta region have reported that rotten rice is being given to survivors instead of the more nutritious supplies provided by the UN and other organisations.
Brian Agland, the country director of Care Australia, said: “We were using food from the World Food Programme, which is very high quality. Certainly, we are concerned that poor-quality rice is being distributed. I have a small sample in my pocket, and it’s some of the poorest-quality rice we’ve seen. It’s affected by salt water and it’s old.”
The allegation that the authorities are hoarding supplies meant for the estimated two million in desperate need adds a new dimension to the picture of indifference and incompetence that has emerged of the regime’s response to the cyclone.