Friday, May 09, 2008

Myanma Update

Almost a week after a devastating cyclone hit low-lying areas of southern Burma, hundreds of thousands of people are still in urgent

Burma warned over cyclone delays

The US has ships with aid standing by in the Gulf of Thailand

The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, has warned of dire consequences if foreign aid workers continue to be denied access to Burma.

Speaking before the UN launched its $187m (£96m) appeal to help those hit by the cyclone, he said early action was needed to prevent catastrophe.

Burma, where the UN fears the death toll could reach 100,000, says it will accept aid from any quarter.

No contact

Aid agencies already in Burma say they have been doing what they can, but are frustrated by the government's reluctance to allow international aid teams into the country and its insistence on distributing aid itself.


The UN believes as many as 1.5 million people could have been affected by Cyclone Nargis, which struck on 3 May, and many say Burma does not have the capacity to respond adequately on its own.

Two BBC correspondents who have travelled to the Irrawaddy delta say tens of thousands of bodies are strewn across the landscape, with houses toppled and trees uprooted.

They say diseases like dysentery are already starting to take hold, and although some aid has arrived there is still no relief effort to match the size of the catastrophe.

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