Emergency Telecoms Team Forced to Wait in Thailand by Burmese Junta

Emergency communications kits destined to help the clear-up of the Burmese cyclone have been held up by the Asian country's military junta. A five-man team from NGO Telecoms Sans Frontieres has been waiting all week for its entry visas from the turds powers that be of the brutal regime. And, until the visas are issued, over 175 pounds of vital equipment will stay right where it is, in a Thai warehouse.

As well as printers, PCs, scanners, cellphones and laptops, the kits contain a large VSAT satellite dish, two satellite phones, including a mobile device, routers and access points, wireless relays, GPS, power packs that include car batteries and solar panels. Primary connection is provided by an AsBGan satellite link, with a Gan M4 giving back-up.

The gear will be used by both aid workers and any locals affected by the disaster who need to get in touch with friends or family. However, despite continuing diplomatic efforts, the generals are refusing to allow foreign aid workers into the country to help the estimated 1.5 million Burmese caught up in the tragedy. "There is a lot of frustration among aid workers," says a TSF spokesman. "We want to help the people of Burma but the authorities aren't letting us do our job." [BBC News and NY Times]