Myanmar (Burma) has long been one of the world’s most oppressive and brutal nations. But the recent cyclone is giving us all a glimpse of how profoundly evil the ruling party, called the junta, truly is. First, the junta hesitated for days before allowing international aid. Now, the junta has seized humanitarian supplies causing the UN’s World Food Program to halt shipments until the matter is resolved.

Myanmar has also refused to grant most foreign aid workers visas, making a full assessment of the situation very difficult. But estimates are that upwards of 62,000 people are dead and missing, thousands of children may be orphaned and the devastated delta region is most likely on the verge of a medical crisis. The longer Myanmar thwarts attempts to aid its people, the more people will die. The U.S. embassy has estimated that over 100,000 may die due to illness.

There doesn’t seem to be a lot us average Americans can do, although aid groups are accepting donations and even if only a fraction of the aid reaches people in need, it’s better than nothing. We can also read and support Burmese dissidents and make sure we elect American politicians who will lead international efforts to help the Burmese people end the junta’s rule.

While a cyclone caused the devastation, the junta is to blame for the growing humanitarian crisis. We sadly will be unable to save many of those the junta has decided to let die but we can do more in the future to help finally end this evil regime’s control of the nation.

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