Ref: Chrz, B. Who Needs Help? (Editorial). Anil Aggrawal's Internet Journal of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology [serial on the Internet]. 2008; Vol. 9, No. 2 (July - December 2008): [about 5 p]. Available from: ; Published July 1, 2008, (Accessed:
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A few years ago a Tsunami hit many countries with borders on the Indian Ocean. I personally was involved with the forensic efforts in Thailand. I gladly offered my services and left for the disaster area leaving my wife at home with our two week old baby boy. When I arrived I found the local authorities were doing a good job of coordination. The foreign aid workers were assigned their jobs and accomplished their tasks. Aid in the form of food and supplies was assembled and then distributed to the people in need. Aid came from all over the world, not in the form of bribes or attempts to take over a government, but rather true heartfelt gifts to help a battered population in a great time of need. The people seem truly thankful for the help. The King of Thailand and his government kept their political power and conducted operations in their own way. I found all the foreign workers I was associated with understood that they were invited guests and acted accordingly. In all, the process in Thailand worked well and helped the people who were in need from one of the most destructive natural disasters in history.
Turn the clock ahead a few years and now we have a cyclone that hits Myanmar. This neighbor of Thailand is set up in a little different way. The military leaders of the country have virtually closed the boarder of the country to control the population. We find that the numbers of fatalities changed drastically from a few hundred to tens of thousands. Outside aid stands ready to be sent in, but the government says no aid is needed and only after a week of work allows a Swiss plane to bring in one load of emergency supplies. Doctors Without Boarders has reports of supply needs but no way to get them into the country. This is obviously a country unaware of the Global neighborhood in which we all now live.
Thus my original question comes up, Who needs help? Obviously, the ruling generals of Myanmar have none of their needs unmet. The majority of the country away from the destruction is running as usual. That leaves the people of Myanmar who are directly affected by the disaster. They need help! They have no fresh water and food. They have limited medical services. They have no help with final disposition of thousands of deceased victims. They have had there shelters destroyed and rendered useless. After all of this it is the leaders of the country that refuse to allow aid into the country for just the basic humanitarian needs of their countrymen.
As a forensic scientist I have always made myself available for those who need my services. If necessary these services are volunteered. We in the forensic community always seem to come to the front when the needy or helpless require assistance. When people offer their help in the way of food and supplies this too is a mode of volunteerism that they feel they owe to this world that has blessed them so well. I wish those controlling the Myanmar government could realize that this offer for services and supplies is not an attempt to interfere with their political situation, but rather an offer from those who have to those who have not. They also need to understand this small world we now live in, sees those who really need help and want to give generously and unselfishly to those in need.
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