May 8th, 2008
04:47 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: Just take the aid!

Erica Hill
360° Correspondent

I know the military government of Myanmar is allowing some aid through, but why has it taken so long? Why deny your own people the help they need?

I understand there’s a whole lotta bureaucracy and pride at play here, but is all that really so important when lives are at stake? Suck it up and accept the help; don’t subject your people to further tragedy. The people of Myanmar need basic help right now, and it’s available. What government - or better yet, what person – in their right mind would deny their own people what they so clearly need? The situation is getting worse and it seems the junta is only exacerbating the problem.

If the junta continues to stall the waiting aid, the US is considering food drops…though not everyone is behind the idea.

While you may feel helpless – especially as we hear about aid ready to go, waiting on the junta’s OK – you’re not. You can help the people of Burma / Myanmar – log on here for more information.

This is comforting. A commercial plane – passengers on board - made the 9 ½ hour trip from Dallas to Paris last month after losing a “large panel” off the underside of the aircraft as the flight took off. There were no warning lights, no system abnormalities, no noises, no vibrations… but as someone who flies a lot, this still doesn’t sit well with me. The fact that this could even happen concerns me. Maybe it was a couple of loose bolts…but imagine if those bolts were loosened somewhere else?

The FAA is investigating.

This is fascinating. Tricked-out buoys off the coast of Massachusetts can not only “hear” whales, they may help save a species. Installed in a shipping lane that serves Boston, these buoys can detect a whale within a five-mile radius. Why does anyone need to know where the whales are? Because slow-moving right whales are oblivious to their surroundings, which could result in death from passing ships and fishing gear… and their numbers are already very low.

I love these quirky yet super helpful tales of  technology at its best.

Filed under: Erica Hill
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Claudia

    For change, some people must die. The U.N. needs to make a choice between the Junta and not the Myanmar people.

    May 9, 2008 at 9:51 am |
  2. eSPO

    " I understand there’s a whole lotta bureaucracy and pride at play here, but is all that really so important when lives are at stake? "

    Sounds like Katrina. Bush vs the Junta in the race for incompetence and inaction.

    May 9, 2008 at 1:25 am |
  3. Teresa

    @ gary: I'm sorry but I dont want any americans just GOING IN and IGNORING the dictator of Myanmar. I think that would result in innocent american and myanmar deaths. There are rules to follow, protocol. Yes, people are dying, no its not our fault, we didnt make the cyclone. I wish we could just barge in, but it's not right. Gary, I do however, respect and appreciate your passion.

    Look what happened when the US didnt follow the UN rules.... 4000 and counting.

    How did these our countries survive in the days before communication and aid from foreign countries? How did the population increase?

    May 8, 2008 at 9:21 pm |
  4. Jacqueline

    Ruby Coria,

    Excellent point you make. Does Burma have any oil? Hmmm

    May 8, 2008 at 9:09 pm |
  5. Annie Kate

    Hi Erica!!

    Myanmor not letting aid and aid workers in unfortunately reminds me of New Orleans after Katrina and the levees breaking. Our delays were based on government incompetence while Myanmor's is based on government indifference. I hope we do the air drops; I'm sure the survivors are desperate for help. Dropping food and water to them may save a great many lives.

    The story on the whales is really interesting; I'm glad there is an effort to protect these whales from being killed by large ships.

    Looking forward to the show tonight. Sounds like from the blog that there will be some good stories on.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    May 8, 2008 at 9:08 pm |
  6. Gary Chandler in Canada

    This is the "Voice of World Opinion and Humanity" America you have permission to go into Myanmar, with force, and save people from starvation. You can also assist with rotting bodies and help reestablish water, food, and shelter.
    At that point you can leave.
    The delay you are fostering is putting death on your hands. Ignore the dictator and go in!

    May 8, 2008 at 8:42 pm |
  7. Gary Chandler in Canada

    It's just as malefic and stupid to not send the aid in, with force, as it is to be concerned about the dictator who will not supply visas.
    Save the lives, then argue about the temporary occupation after you leave a rebuilt infrastructure.
    It's probably more sinful for the 'civilised' nation to hold back aid, than it is for despot, who is a barbarian anyway.

    May 8, 2008 at 8:37 pm |
  8. Gary Chandler in Canada

    NO it NOT a matter of them 'taking the aid'. It IS a case of America not sending the aid.
    Was nothing learned from the poor response to Katrina survivors?
    SEND the aid. Forget it is not a country with a medium rice crop, and imagine it is an oil, poppy, or cocaine rich nation; the kind USA has no problem invade. If you can invade, with shock and awe, whole countries over nebulous issues, why can't you, with international approval, briefly occupy a small region to save a million lives?
    news headline at noon today. "pentagon is not warm to unsanctioned air drops of aid"
    Forget the discomfort of one petty dictator and SEND in the aid. Since when are Americans so respectful of dictators?
    (I wonder if the Pentagon are prying for some type capitulation from the despot before sending aid?)
    Every hour you withhold the aid, every death from starvation and disease is on the hands of the powers that could go in with it!
    Ignore the dictator! Talk to him after aid is given, water and food is restored, then leave, then say "What were you saying to the dictator."
    Go in with the aid. GO GO GO for god"s sake! Go.

    May 8, 2008 at 8:32 pm |
  9. Ruby Coria, LA., CA.

    Hello Erica, I wonder why we just don't go in to Burma like we did Iraq., of course with the intention to Help not distroy. It seems to me that the world is just watching n listening to the Goverment of that country who does not care for it's people..humm.
    FDA, do we trust them? humm
    The whales, Oh don't get me started!.. see u tonight.

    May 8, 2008 at 8:02 pm |
  10. Heather

    Hi Erica,

    You wanted to know why the ruling party of "Burma" is taking forever to accept aid of any kind. I will tell you why . If you have ever seen footage of how they live you would see a huge difference. They live in lavish luxury with huge homes kind of like a a secluded castle seperate from the rest that they rule over. There was a wedding and the bride was literally draped in diamond necklace after diamond necklace. If they put the same amount of money and care into the people of Burma they would have a infastructure with a warning system and they wouldnt be living in poverty. The fact is they dont care. Im sure they were happy to have these people die. Its that less many people to deal with. They took over in a military coup a long time ago. They will gladly take money for themselves but not for the people. They wont accept our aid because they dont want other countries to physically see how they treat their people. If they had ever cared about the people the way they live and how they do things they would have done something about it long ago. They dont build or modernize because they dont care.Its fustrating to watch It makes me so mad. But its the truth. The only escape these people will ever have is walking on foot into the jungle over the border into Thailand. I wish we could take out the government but China has a relationship with them and doesnt care for that.

    May 8, 2008 at 7:59 pm |
  11. linda., bella vista, ar

    Gotta think that the junta is doing what is politically expeditious for the sake of power. Heard a comment some where that they might use the 'deaths' of this tragedy to cover the deaths of political activists.

    Hard to believe that their are such 'soulless' folks on the planet, but why else would they try to block humanitarian aid?

    May 8, 2008 at 7:59 pm |
  12. Jan from Wood Dale IL

    The junta want the aid supplies and cash, but not the workers or UN to oversee the aid distribution. Last night in Dan Rivers' report, there was a brief shot of a truck loaded with tin roofing material. That material was sold (cheaply) first to those in Myanmar's military. Then it was sold to those who knew someone in the military. Some of those people doubled up the price to resell the tin roofing material to residents of Rangoon. These are the kind of stories they don't want to get out.

    All 5 regions of the Irrawaddy delta region were savaged by the cyclone. These regions produce 65 percent of the rice, 80 percent of fishery produce, and 50 percent of meat and meat products for the entire country.

    Mizzima News is reporting the Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's home was damaged by the cyclone. Parts of the roof had been damaged and the gate leading to her house was hit by an uprooted tree. The army has removed the tree, and they may repair her home since she is under house arrest.

    May 8, 2008 at 7:35 pm |
  13. xtina, chicago

    response to R Dasani of Phx who writes

    "i no longer ever expect any govenment to do the right think on it's own accord – we the people have to shame them into it – "

    so why do think so many people want the Congress to take over our health care?

    May 8, 2008 at 7:10 pm |
  14. Megan Dresslar

    Hello Erica,
    I agree with guys, only way to help people giving charity or money or food to Burma people. I am so praying for you and Anderson will go to Burma, but He hopes he is waiting for his visas from Thailand..... Sounds good to me. Thanks for all of you to help poor people in Burma. Anyway, I am not be here tonight. I have plans out somewhere tonight. I will be back tomorrow tonight, Please tell hello to bloggers and Anderson for me. Good night all! See you tomorrow night! 🙂
    Megan D.
    Shoreline, Wa

    May 8, 2008 at 7:01 pm |
  15. Sean in Dallas

    Hi Erica!

    You asked.."What government — or better yet, what person – in their right mind would deny their own people what they so clearly need?"

    where do I attach the picture of the Katrina aftermath?

    As far as the airplane story goes well, that's just scary!!! imagine looking out of that little window and seeing something fly by. I can hear it now..."Hey, isn't that our pilot?"

    May 8, 2008 at 6:47 pm |
  16. Ruth

    I dislike flying very much Erica. My first flight was on a very windy day, where the plane had to ascend quickly. I was white knuckling the arm rests and people who where flying for business across from me, were unfazed. They were reading the shaky morning newspaper and picking up their cup of coffee to sip before it danced off the edge.

    May 8, 2008 at 6:39 pm |
  17. Jean c Zappia

    I don't know who will make the decision for DNC, but if they have any sense they will begin making their case soon. We have a candidate in the lead who hasn't shown the core democrats his mettle. I didn't vote for McGovern,Dukakis, or Kerry. I did vote for Jimmy Carter who ran on change and look what happened, DC shut down. I am not alone , there are many more voters with the same thoughts.

    May 8, 2008 at 6:36 pm |
  18. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    If taking the aid were only that simple...Well, actually it is that simple but someone needs to let the junta read the memo. Still believing in and praying for miracles that those who survived will get through this all right.

    Onto the airline story, that's just scary. I think when it's your time, it's your time. However, it would be nice if the airplane I'm flying in has all its parts in place. It's just the minor conveniences I expect my airline to provide in-flight (movie, tomato juice, pillow and blanket, bottom panels).

    Finally, glad to know the whales are being protected. Technology can be good or bad depending on its purpose. It's just nice that in this case, it is being used for something really awesome. Whales deserve all the protection they can get.

    May 8, 2008 at 6:27 pm |
  19. xtina, chicago

    In Myanmar, I think the rulers don't want the people to know what's in the developed world; then they will be interacting with the Western world; then they will want things.

    May 8, 2008 at 6:22 pm |
  20. Fay, CA

    Although the situation in Burma is horrible enough as it is, how is the government planning to deal with the diseases and chaos that might occur as their increasingly desperate citizens continue to suffer? Oh right, they don't care about that.

    The report about the airplane is pretty scary and it reminds me of a show I watch called "Air Emergency" which is about various airline disasters and all the things that can go wrong during a flight. I'm not sure why I continue to watch this program, since it only reinforces my fear of flying.

    May 8, 2008 at 6:00 pm |
  21. Genevieve M, TX

    Erica, I agree- the buoys are a great idea! It not only prevents the whales from being hurt by passing ships, but it also allows the ships to travel through without worrying about damage from hitting the whales.

    This is definitely a 'win-win' situation. 🙂

    May 8, 2008 at 5:52 pm |
  22. Carol B., Virginia

    Is there any U.S. policy that would prohibit getting supplies to Bangladesh or China, to then arrive in Burma under supervision? Even the Junta members have families and to deny citizens the chance to receive help for their family is criminal. Also, now other countries will know more about what has taken place during this regime.

    May 8, 2008 at 5:44 pm |
  23. R Dasani, Phoenix AZ

    The longer I live the more i believe what George Orwell wrote : " the purpose of government is too keep it's self in power "

    i no longer ever expect any govenment to do the right thing on it's own accord – we the people have to shame them into it – continuing to report on this is will not only put pressure on the government of Myanmar but will alos let those in need know that we are aware of their plight

    May 8, 2008 at 5:39 pm |
  24. Jim- Kearny, NJ

    Hi Erica

    I have to think that the junta in Myanmar doesn't want any Americans there because they fear that planeloads of Bushies will try to take the place over. It's really sad that we used to be seen as a benevolent superpower and now we're loathed, feared and resented by most of the world.
    It's sad what's happening there. It's like watching Katrina all over again.

    May 8, 2008 at 5:35 pm |
  25. Jacqueline, NY

    Hi Erica,

    I'm am with you all the way. However, in response to your question: "What government — or better yet, what person – in their right mind would deny their own people what they so clearly need?"

    Remember Hurricane Katrina?

    May 8, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  26. Lilibeth

    If the US is considering food drops for Burma, I’d say this is a good idea. It may not be the most efficient way of providing aid in that country, but it’s better than nothing, especially with the junta not cooperating.

    It seems American Airlines has been in hot water these days. I actually haven’t flown that airline in years, but any airline doesn’t inspire confidence. I know of businessmen that own their own airplanes so they don’t have to fly commercial. Very expensive, I know, but considering the alternative...

    The device that tracks whales is pretty cool. I’m always for technology that enhances the quality of life of humans and animals.

    Thanks, Erica. See you tonight.

    Edmonds, Washington

    May 8, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  27. Lorie Ann, Buellton, California

    Hi Erica,
    I agree! Accept that aid..period. They should be ashamed of themselves. Their delay, probably caused the people to suffer needlessly.
    Flying high, minus parts. Whatever happened to the Friendly skies? The airlines are really not making the flying public feel too confident. Bumped and canceled flights, loose bolts..Amtrak is looking real good lately. All aboard! Take Care

    Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif.

    May 8, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  28. Megan O. Toronto, ON, Canada

    At times you want to yell out at the government of Burma to suck up their pride and accept the help but we can not make them do anything. All we can do is pray that the government's eyes of understanding to be opened so they see that all the rest of the world wants to do is help.

    May 8, 2008 at 5:11 pm |
  29. deborah,OH

    The junta in Myanmar won't have very many people to oppress if they don't accept some aid, & save some lives! Just a thought.

    May 8, 2008 at 5:05 pm |
  30. Alexander

    As I said before, Erica, take care when you fly. I don't like the situation with all of these poorly maintained aircraft myself, and I don't fly as often as you do. It can really be disconcerting when a simple thing like loose bolts can affect the status of a flight, especially if it's the difference between life and death. Stay safe in the skies, Erica.; )

    May 8, 2008 at 5:01 pm |