Telecom Relief Group Forced Out of Myanmar

After Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar in May, several relief agencies and governments attempted to come to the aid of the Asian nation. However, as press reports had stated, those efforts were stalled for political reasons as Burma's military rulers resisted the help.

That hindrance impacted one satellite-oriented organization.

Telecoms Sans Frontieres (TSF), a working group member of the United Nations' emergency telecoms body that goes into areas impacted by natural disasters, was dispatched to the area. After 15 days in Myanmar, however, TSF made the decision to leave the country due to resistance from government entities.

The group said its requests for authorization to deploy to the Irrawaddy Delta in Myanmar were not granted and the organization's other efforts were blocked in Yangon. Thus, TSF said its teams were returned to their bases.

While Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar on May 2, TSF first obtained visas to enter the nation on June 1. The organization's teams spent just about a month waiting at the border before deploying to the impacted areas.

It's estimated that Cyclone Nargis killed at least 133,600 people and affected at least 2.4 million other civilians, especially in the regions of Irrawaddy and Yangon.