Saturday, June 24, 2006

A concrete jungle for the elephants

One thing that has always distressed me is to see elephants roaming the streets of the cities here in Thailand. They're not made for the city. Their feet must hurt after rambling for hours on the hard pavements. And the Bangkok's pollution must really wreck their lungs. While I can appreciate the dilemma the mahouts have in providing for their charges, surely there is another way. Having them begging / performing on city streets is so deeming...

Even the elephant camps around Chiang Mai have these magnificent animals performing silly tricks for the gawking tourists.

It's just a circus by another name. These grand and majestic animals deserve something better. I reckon life in an Australian zoo would be much better than wandering the city streets day in and day out.

It's tough in the concrete jungle - World -

OLE, a two-year-old Thai elephant, stands side-on to traffic in the middle of a four-lane street in central Bangkok, trunk swinging erratically as buses, taxis and motorbikes whiz past on either flank. For eight hours each night he walks through choking fumes, stopping only when a customer, Thai or tourist, buys a 20 baht (60 cent) bag of sugarcane to feed him and snap a photo. For the next few months, this will be his life.

The most passionate of Thailand's elephant activists, who successfully blocked the recent attempt to export eight animals to Australia, don't want to see even one elephant leave the country, but life for a domesticated elephant at home is less than perfect.

Last week Ole and seven other elephants were trucked to the capital from the Elephant Village, in Surin province, near the Cambodian border, where drought meant there was little to eat for the animals. They now spend their days on a leg chain in a desolate stretch of land under a tangle of freeways in the Bang Kapi district.

Each night they do a 10-kilometre circuit with two mahouts through the city's business and restaurant districts. It is illegal to parade the elephants through the city but police turn a blind eye.

[read more...]

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Canada welcomes 810 Burmese refugees

A bit of good news for some of those who've suffered so much from the powers that be in Burma.

Canada welcomes 810 Burmese refugees
A solution is in sight for thousands of refugees from Burma who have been "warehoused" in camps for decades and are currently accommodated in nine camps in Thailand.

Following an agreement by the Royal Thai Government to allow large-scale resettlement of Burmese refugees, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has identified 13,000 of an estimated refugee population of 140,000 in need of priority resettlement.

The groups identified are those facing a particularly precarious existence and who have suffered severe persecution, including torture, imprisonment, forced labour, the burning of villages and forced relocation in their homeland.

Eight hundred and ten Karen refugees have been accepted by Canada.


Saturday, June 17, 2006

Aung San Suu Kyi's birthday

I don't know what a "self arrest" is but it'd be terrific if this proposed protest became a tidal wave of opposition to what's been happening for Aung San Suu Kyi and all those who've been incarcerated simply because they want a free Burma!

Though, the question is, would the Burmese leaders pay any attention? They seem to have ignored every other attempt to bring about change.

Bangkok Post Breaking News: Burma activists to mark Suu Kyi birthday
Hundreds of Burma pro-democracy activists from around the world plan to "arrest themselves" on Saturday to draw attention to opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's ongoing detention on her 61st birthday.

Hundreds of activists in Thailand, in 35 US states and in 13 other countries are taking part in the self-arrest to demand the release of Suu Kyi, who has spent the last three years under house arrest in Rangoon and was recently sentenced to another year, said Aung Din, policy director of the US Campaign for Burma.

"We are organising these events to honour Aung San Suu Kyi but also to press for a Security Council resolution. The longer the UN waits, the more people will die in Burma," said Aung Din, in a statement made available in Bangkok.

Self-arrests are planned in the US, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, France, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Britain and even in Burma.

"The world is waking up to the struggles of this amazing woman," said Aung Din. "She is the Nelson Mandela of Asia."

Suu Kyi, the daughter of Burma independence hero Aung San, turns 61 on Monday. She has spent the past 10 out of 17 years under house arrest in her family's Rangoon residence.

Burma's ruling junta on May 27 extended Suu Kyi's detention for another year, directly snubbing a personal appeal by United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan for her immediate release.

Forget bombs, bootleg T-shirts are a present danger

This article about Homeland Security's scope of detention powers is rather disturbing. To whom are they accountable?

Forget bombs, bootleg T-shirts are a present danger - World -

Ray LeMoine hung out with Hezbollah and watched a terrorist rally, but that's not why Homeland Security picked him up.

ARRIVING at JFK Airport from Dubai recently, I was stopped at customs by an officer from the Department of Homeland Security and directed to a drab back room filled with Arabs, South Asians and Africans.

I wasn't surprised, really, having just spent six months working and travelling in the Islamic world - Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Pakistan. If ever there was a security red-flag candidate, I was it, and I assumed this was just protocol.

read on...

Friday, June 16, 2006

Bali bombings were God's will: defiant Bashir - World -

His god is a different God than the one I know!!!!
How cruel, how callous, how insensitive!!
This must be sending shudders of horror through the Muslim moderates. How can we love and care for one another with such hateful words being spoken? It's madness

Bali bombings were God's will: defiant Bashir - World -
THE deaths of more than 220 people in terrorist attacks on Bali were "God's will" and the bombers were not killers as they were only acting as God's means, says the freed leader of Indonesia's radical Muslims, Abu Bakar Bashir.
He has also rebuffed demands by the Prime Minister, John Howard, that Indonesia's President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, monitor his activities and restrict his movements.

On the veranda of his home inside the inner sanctum of his Ngruki Islamic boarding school near the central Java city of Solo, Bashir made outspoken comments to a group of journalists yesterday afternoon, after his release from prison on Wednesday.


Asked for his response to the Australian families of the Bali bomb victims, Bashir said they should convert to Islam so Allah could comfort them. "If they are still non-Muslim, well, it needs to be understood that it is God's will. The ones who killed their families are not the bombers. They are just the means."


Early yesterday, beside a banner stating "be a good Muslim or die", Bashir rallied more than 1000 followers on returning to his school, urging them to become fanatics to ensure Islam wins its "war" with the West.


Bashir said "if John Howard wants to be saved [from hell] he has to convert to Islam. God willing, God will forgive him from his sins. Secondly, never try to be at war with Islam, he'll definitely lose. We Muslims may probably be killed, if God permits, but Islam cannot [be defeated]."


"So I say to infidels that it will be useless to be at war with Islam. You will definitely be destroyed … No matter what, Islamic law must be imposed. For centuries, Islam reigned the world, the world was safe, prosperity and justice everywhere. After the fall of Islam and the world was reigned by infidels the world is now in full of darkness and full of injustice."


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Thais Celebrate...

The celebrations have been awesome! I watched the Royal Barge Procession on Thai TV last evening and found it to be tremendously moving. King Bhumibol Adulyadej is looking his age but I was impressed with his regal bearing and all the pomp and ceremony that surrounded the celebration.

Thais hail a remarkable reign - World -

THAILAND'S celebration of its beloved king moved to the river last night in a spectacular procession of 52 ceremonial barges propelled by more than 2000 oarsmen, enacting a 300-year-old tradition.

The procession along the Chao Phraya River was the centrepiece of the five-day festival to celebrate the 60th anniversary of King Bhumibol Adulyadej's accession to the throne in 1946.

The 78-year-old is the world's longest-serving monarch and royals from around the world have flooded into Bangkok over the weekend to fete his reign and perhaps marvel at his continuing relevance within Thai society.

Prince Andrew, representing Queen Elizabeth, the second longest-serving monarch, was first to arrive. Princess Mary's father-in-law, Prince Henrik, arrived to represent the Danish royals. The guest list stretches around the globe, from the King of Lesotho in southern Africa to Japan's Emperor Akihito.


In a world that increasingly marginalises the role of the monarchy, in Thailand the king is a unifying, respected figure.

In a speech broadcast live to the nation, he said: "Unity is a basis for all Thais to help preserve and bring prosperity to the country in the long run."

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Thailand -- Royal Barge Procession

I reckon this will be fantastic to watch. I just wish I were in Bangkok to be able to go watch. As it is I will be able to watch it on Thai TV... not quite the same but better than nothing at all.

The celebrations thus far have been very exciting for everyone.

MCOT : TNA English News: Royal Barge Procession to highlight Monday celebrations

Commemorative celebrations marking His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej's 60-year reign will enter the fourth day Monday with a spectacular Royal Barge Procession as the highlight.

To be held from 7.30pm until about midnight on Bangkok's Chao Phraya River, the procession will comprise 52 barges including the four Royal Barges--Subanahongsa, Anantanagaraj, Anekajatbhujonga, and Narayana Song Suban--manned by 2,082 Royal Thai Navy crew.

Lyrics composed in honour of HM the King will be sung as rhythmic music for the procession.

The event will be the first occasion in which HM the King and other members of the Thai Royal family view a full-scale royal barge procession in lieu of traveling on and being observed by the world's monarchs, royal consorts and representatives, as well as other dignitaries.

Ceremonies of paying tribute to the King have been held across the kingdom since June 9, the exact day when the King acceded the throne 60 years ago. The Royal Thai Government announced three public holidays nationwide and five public holidays in Bangkok and its vicinity, starting last Friday so as to facilitate the Royal guests and dignitaries' travels and public participation in the celebrations.

King Bhumibol, the world's longest reigning monarch, is the ninth king of the Chakri Dynasty and ascended the throne on June 9, 1946. Hundreds of thousand yellow-clad Thais, as well as foreign well-wishers, packed the Royal Plaza last Friday to greet the beloved monarch who appeared on the balcony of the Throne Hall in Bangkok to grant them an audience, officially marking the first day of the grand celebrations.

As for Monday's event, security has been tightened for overseas nobility at the Royal Barge Procession with more than 1,700 naval officers and some 500 others from the Royal Thai Police and the Marine Department to stand guard. (TNA)-E009

Aung San Suu Kyi’s health

It seems as if Aung San Suu Kyi is on the mend and at her house and being tended by her doctor.

Democratic Voice of Burma: Aung San Suu Kyi’s health
Burma’s military junta, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) police chief Maj-Gen Khin Yi confirmed today that detained democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi was treated for acute diarrhoea this week.
"She is at her house now. She was suffering from diarrhoea," Khin Yi told reporters while travelling in eastern Karen State.
Reports have been emerging since Friday noon that the Nobel laureate was suffering from acute diarrhoea and hospitalised, but her National League for Democracy (NLD) leaders refused to confirm the reports, only saying that they were still enquiring about it.
Reports of her illness had earlier prompted the US State Department to say it was "very concerned" and called on the country's military rulers to ensure she received prompt treatment, and the news spread worldwide. Khin Yi inevitably had to confirm the reports due to the US action.

DVB contacted her family doctors Tin Myo Win and Pyone Mo Ei by phone, but unable to get hold of them. A spokesman of the NLD, Myint Thein also told DVB that there had been difficulties in contacting Aung San Suu Kyi and her family doctor directly. Her doctor, Tin Myo Win, could not be reached for comment, but some reports suggest he might be caring for her inside the lakeside home where she is confined under house arrest.
“Therefore, we are still unable to confirm this matter. But according to the reports today, police chief Khin Yi admitted that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s not well,” said Myint Thein. “Another thing, we received a report from another source that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was hospitalised, is not true. Therefore, there is nothing for us to worry about. And we heard that (she) has the contact with the doctor. One thing, as I said before, there is (we have) no direct contact with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Therefore, the contacts are only through authority organisations concerned and her family doctor, Dr. Tin Myo Win. But there might be some rules Dr. Tin Myo Win has to observe. Therefore, when it comes to this kind of crucial matter, I hope that it would be more suitable if the authorities concerned told the concise, true and full story. We also demand this.

Further news on Suu Kyi has the Burmese police chief saying she is dangerous, as a way to justify continuing her house arrest.

U-Turn: Now, Burmese police chief says Suu Kyi is dangerous

Jun 09, 2006 (DVB) - Burmese police chief Maj-Gen Khin Yi said that the recent extension of the house arrest of Burma’s democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi for another year is due to the fact that she poses a threat to the security of the nation, according reports from Karen State capital Pa-an in eastern Burma.

His latest comment followed his rather confident assessment in May at Kuala Lumpur that support for the detained leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and Nobel laureate, has faded and dwindled so much over the years that her release from house arrest is unlikely to pose a threat to political stability as she was unlikely to be able to draw large gatherings.

In America, law is as solid as rock, paper, scissors

Is this an "Only in America" sort of thing? It's probably as good a way as any to decide a lawsuit!

In America, law is as solid as rock, paper, scissors - World -
Fed up with the inability of two lawyers to agree on a trivial issue in an insurance lawsuit, a federal judge in Florida this week ordered them to "convene at a neutral site" and "engage in one (1) game of 'rock, paper, scissors"' to settle the disputed matter.

Childish lawyers are commonplace, but the use of children's games to resolve litigation disputes is apparently a new development. The judge, Gregory Presnell of the US District Court in Orlando, wrote that his innovation was "a new form of alternative dispute resolution".


Saturday, June 10, 2006

Rare giraffe-like animal spotted

This is the first time I've ever heard of the Okapi though that doesn't mean that much. It's great that they may have survived in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The giraffe is one of my favourite animals. I once took a really great photo of a giraffe at Taronga Park Zoo in Sydney with the Sydney skyline as a backdrop. It was rather fantastic, if I do say so myself. It graced my apartment wall for many years. When I lived in Mosman where the Taronga Zoo is located I had a zoo membership and often went to visit the giraffe enclosure. So, now it's really nice to read about a cousin of this majestic creature.

BBC NEWS | Africa | Rare giraffe-like animal spotted

Conservationists say they have found conclusive proof of the existence of a rare giraffe-like creature in the wild in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Experts from the conservation group WWF say they came across 17 okapi tracks in the Virunga National Park.

Despite its zebra-like markings, the okapi is related to the giraffe.

The region in the eastern DRC has been battered by years of conflict. The last time the shy forest-dwelling creature was spotted in the park was in 1959.

"We rely completely on tracks, on footprints, on dung, on signs of browsing to identify where the animals have been," WWF's Peter Stephenson said.


US concerned Burma's Suu Kyi in hospital

Aung San Suu Kyi is reported to have been taken to hospital because of stomach pain. World pressure does need to continue and be increased on the Burma leadership to allow Suu Kyi, and all political prisoners, to be freed. And, the world needs to keep a sharp eye on their treatment of Suu Kyi.

US concerned Burma's Suu Kyi in hospital. 10/06/2006. ABC News Online

The United States has voiced concern over reports Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi may have been taken to hospital, and urged the authorities to release her from house arrest.

US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says the US is disturbed by the unconfirmed reports that Ms Suu Kyi has been taken to hospital.

"We will call upon the Burmese Government to provide Aung San Suu Kyi any and all medical assistance that she might need and to do so expeditiously and to ensure her safety during any treatment," he said.

"We are of course very concerned by these reports."

Burma's military junta earlier confirmed the Opposition leader's house arrest had been extended for a year.

Burma's police chief says Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest is lawful because she is a threat to the state. ...

Friday night... what's your choice?

Friday, June 09, 2006

A must read at Freedom for Egyptians الحرية للمصريين

This is a must read! "Hitlerism on Saudi Islamic Channel: Jews are Apes and Pigs" The video she talks about has to be a reflection of the indoctrination of the children. No child as young as this could possibly know anything negative about the Jews, or anyone else for that matter. What's happening to her childhood?

It's a crazy world we are living in, and a crazy time!
Freedom for Egyptians الحرية للمصريين:

... The girl is wearing a scarf?? Is this the definition of a childhood for what they call themselves "true Muslims". This is childhood abuse and there is no difference between it and childhood pornography. She is wearing it because her parents are teaching her that males are thirsty dogs who will try to rape her at anytime. Second, she is talking about things I did not know about when I was 8 years old. Where is the innocence of the childhood? What are they are teaching her. DO not blame her when she grows up and believes that suicide bombers are her role models for an Islamic life. I feel so sorry for her childhood because other girls at her age enjoy the playgrounds, healthy mental life and fun activities. ...

Thailand celebrates king's 60 years on the throne

Thailand is awash with celebration for King Bhumibol's 60 years on the throne. It's 60 years ago today that he became king and over the years he's become very very popular.

Having spent so much time in Thailand I have seen how greatly he is admired by all citizens. While politicians and businessmen are generally self-serving and out to gain the maximum personal benefit for themselves, the king time and again has worked tirelessly for the benefit of the ordinary people.

The stability enjoyed here can be traced back to His Majesty. I hope he enjoys many more years of life.

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Thailand marks king's anniversary

Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej has called for national unity during colourful celebrations in the capital to mark his 60 years on the throne.

The king, who is the world's longest-serving monarch, addressed a cheering crowd of hundreds of thousands of people in Bangkok's Royal Plaza.

Speaking from the palace balcony, King Bhumibol, 78, said that unity would bring prosperity to Thailand.

Dignitaries from around the world are in Bangkok for the celebrations.

"Unity is a basis for all Thais to help preserve and bring prosperity to the country in the long run," the king told the crowd, which stretched some 3 km (2 miles).

"If Thais uphold these ethics, it will ensure that Thailand will stand firmly," he said.

'Historic event'

Hundreds of thousands of Thai's, most wearing yellow or carrying yellow flags to honour the monarch, had gathered to hear the king speak.

They received his address with shouts of "Long Live His Majesty!"

"Police estimate almost one million people were there at the peak of the royal audience," Bangkok police spokesman Colonel Pinit Maneerut told the AFP news agency.

"It's an unprecedented and historic event," he said.

Many people had arrived in the early hours to find a place from which to see the king, who is both highly revered and very popular.

Chom Taenglek, who arrived at dawn, wore a yellow shirt.

"This is a very auspicious opportunity," he told Reuters news agency.

"I would like to see all Thais sacrifice and do good for the country and our king, whom everyone should follow as a role model," he said.


Thursday, June 08, 2006

Karen being displaced by Burmese Army

The Burmese military is once again attacking the Karen people. This goes on year after year after year. The only thing that slows them down is rain. So, we pray for rain. And, it has rained and the army has gotten bogged down. They have not been able to do their worst though they try.

Read the story the whole story at:

An Uncertain Fate -- The Irrawaddy News Magazine Online Edition

A savage onslaught by the Burmese army in Karen State has displaced thousands and seriously undermined any government talk about democratic reform

Up to four families squash into half-finished bamboo structures of three or four rooms built into the side of a mountain. Those on the other side of the mountain still wait for suitable shelter.

Under these thatched roofs, various cooking utensils lie scattered among tired, poorly clothed and underfed Karen refugees just arrived from northern and eastern Karen State in Burma. They were driven out of their homes by an aggressive campaign by the Burmese army, which targets civilians as well as armed ethnic rebels.

They sit now in Mae Ra Moo refugee camp in Thailand’s Mae Hong Son province near the Burma border, safe from Burma’s predatory army, but with a very uncertain future. Meanwhile, thousands more remain on the Burmese side of the Salween River, prohibited by Thai authorities from entering Thailand.


Real body, not a fake -- what a shock!

CSI is one of my favourite TV shows. I should imagine there's many youngsters who have become interested in the science of forensic investigation. If I were young again I might have given the field a second look.

The shock these kids experienced when they found a real body in their mock crime scene would no doubt have had a deep effect on them... especially, as it sounds like the homeless fellow was fairly young.

Read more at:
Dead body in fake crime scene scares life out of pupils - World -

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Elderly continue to be lost in non-working welfare system

I find it hard to understand how things could come to such a state for this poor elderly lady. I can understand her not wanting her son to bathe her, clean her, and care for her intimate needs. In the midst of her suffering I suspect she was protecting her dignity.

It would be helpful if the home nursing service for the elderly and disabled were able to take a more personal interest in those they care for. The numbers of those found to be neglected each year is pretty horrific. Are there not enough community health care workers?

Woman close to death after home nursing discontinued - National -

AN ELDERLY woman found close to death in a putrid house she shared with her son was visited several times by health authorities, who ruled in the weeks before her rescue that she did not need home nursing.

Police found Mary Reeves, 79, of Lismore Heights, in such a shocking state that even veteran officers have described the case as horrific.

For more than a year Mrs Reeves, a cancer patient, had been mostly confined to a room in her Oakshott Street home.

She had been left to the care of her son Christopher, 39, and was visited occasionally by nurses from the North Coast Area Health Service.

Police and ambulance officers found her on March 17 lying comatose in a pool of excrement, struggling to breathe and covered in sores. They had initially been denied access to the house by Mr Reeves, but insisted on entering, a police report states.

Police have not laid any charges.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Archbishop Pell speaks out on Islam again

Sydney's Archibishop Pell is not making many friends among Muslims these days. He is not afraid to speak his mind and I admire him for that. No doubt he'll get thoroughly rubbished as it seems to be becoming more and more politically incorrect to say anything even slightly negative about Islam, especially if you're not a Muslim. It's interesting how Christianity and Judaism can get totally rubbished by the Muslims but woe betide any Christian or Jew who even "slightly" criticises Islam...

This seems like more than just a hint of insecurity...

What I've noticed in life is that the more secure a person is in who they are the less defensive they need to be about anything. Maybe some inner healing would help the Muslims who are so hot under the collar about everything.

Pell steps up war of words on Islam - National -

THE country's most influential Catholic has offended Islamic leaders for the second time in a month by declaring Islam more warlike than Christianity.

Australia had not been much changed by the rising Islamic threat after September 11, 2001, the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, said. But this could change depending "on how many terrorist attacks" Islamic extremists could "bring off successfully".

"The million-dollar question" was whether intolerance was a modern distortion of Islam or arose out of internal logic.

"It's difficult to find periods of tolerance in Islam. I'm not saying they're not there, but a good deal of what is asserted is mythical."

Dr Pell's comments came in an interview in Rome with John L. Allen, a well-regarded correspondent of National Catholic Reporter. Allen suggested that under the new Pope, Benedict XVI, a more hawkish climate has developed and Islam is being directly challenged on issues of terrorism and religious freedom.

Only last month Dr Pell stirred controversy when he asserted that the Koran was riddled with "invocations to violence", and Islam was not a tolerant religion.

Keysar Trad of the Islamic Friendship Association said Dr Pell's statement showed he had no understanding of Islam.

Linda Morris

Monday, June 05, 2006

Burma... the unending tragedy

The Burmese leadership seems intent on pursuing its own evil agenda without regard to what's good and right and honourable. Aung San Suu Kyi continues in house arrest. Her charisma continues to strike fear into the hearts of the leadership. Though isolated and imprisoned with little contact with the outside world, she continues to stand tall for the aspirations of the peoples of Burma. May the days be shortened that this country has to endure such awful suffering.

Burma: The unturned page - The Boston Globe
THE UNITED Nations was created to foster a peaceful international order built upon a foundation of collective security. It is because of the grandeur of that ideal that the UN's habitual failure to protect the victims of murderous regimes in Cambodia, Rwanda, and Sudan is so disillusioning. And sad to say, those tragic failures of the past are being reenacted today as senior UN officials and members of the UN Security Council acquiesce in the despotic brutality of the illegitimate military junta that rules Burma.

On a visit to Burma last month, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's top deputy, Under-Secretary General Ibrahim Gambari, raised hopes for progress there toward a restoration of democracy and national reconciliation. Gambari was allowed to meet with Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, imprisoned in her own house, and was granted an interview with the leader of the junta, General Than Shwe. Gambari reported that the general is ready "to turn a new page in relations with the international community."
That page did not get turned. Read on ...

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Cyclone Monica long gone but people still awaiting help

This must be so distressing for the citizens of Maningrida and Oenpelli! It seems as though the Australian govt has forgotten they are part of Australia too. I bet Cairns or Townsville wouldn't have to wait for assistance. It's rather shameful... no matter what community problems there may be.
I hope this articles produces some results, and soon.

Remains of the day - National -
Five weeks after Cyclone Monica ripped through Arnhem Land, many communities are still waiting for help. Ben Cubby reports.

IT IS the disaster most people forgot. On April 24, Cyclone Monica - a spiralling storm the size of England - swept across the coast of northern Australia, leaving a trail of wreckage through remote indigenous communities in Arnhem Land.

Five weeks later, many people are still surviving in circumstances that defy explanation by standards applied in the rest of Australia.

Some residents say living conditions in communities such as Maningrida and Oenpelli have been so bad for so long that the differences between a cyclone-devastated town and ordinary life are small. They feel the Federal Government has ignored them and no one in the wider community has noticed their plight. The towns are rebuilding themselves with little outside help.

Charlie Djordila, of the Burarra tribal group, had the roof of his house torn off on the night of April 24. He believes the devastation caused by Cyclone Larry in North Queensland a month before meant no one paid attention to the hardship at Maningrida.