Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Meanwhile Myanmar is still reeling and in need of HELPS!
UN chief condemns Burma response
United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon has criticised Burma's military junta for its "unacceptably slow response" to helping cyclone victims.
Nearly 32,000 people were killed by the cyclone on May 3 and almost 30,000 others are still missing, according to Burma state television.
"We believe that it's going to be very difficult to reach everybody and to tackle the crisis as we would like without some outside military and civilian assets," John Holmes, the UN's top humanitarian official, told reporters.
Almost all foreign relief workers have been barred entry into the isolated nation. The junta says it wants to hand out all donated supplies on its own.
"I want to register my deep concern - and immense frustration - at the unacceptably slow response to this grave humanitarian crisis," Ban said.
"Unless more aid gets into the country - very quickly - we face an outbreak of infectious diseases that could dwarf today's crisis. I therefore call, in the most strenuous terms, on the government of Burma to put its people's lives first. It must do all that it can to prevent this disaster from becoming even more serious."
Ban said Burma's leaders had not returned his repeated calls and letters to them, including a second letter sent on Monday, seeking greater co-operation with the UN and other international relief efforts.
Burma braced for more rain
Survivors of the Burma cyclone are bracing themselves for further torrential rain.
Storm warnings have been issued for the region despite large swathes of the country still lying submerged under putrid floodwater from the initial cyclone.
The Burma government has come under sustained international pressure as aid agencies warn the death toll following the cyclone could reach 1.5 million.
Further heavy deluges will hamper the progression of embryonic aid efforts which are only now starting to reach the more remote areas.
Oxfam said the stricken country faces a public health catastrophe unless clean water and sanitation are quickly provided.
Save the Children spokeswoman Kathryn Rawe said huge storms were expected to strike Burma.