A US diplomat said that more than 100,000 people may have died after cyclone Nargis hit Burma last weekend. The situation worsens as the country's military regime refuses entry to humanitarian workers. (Story: C. Moore)
A source close to the National League for Democracy, Burmese opponent Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, told
“This seems unbelievable as the death tolls rises every hour”, said
Over 22,000 people died and 41,000 are missing, according to official provisional figures. Estimates from the NGO Save the Children show that the number of homeless could run into millions.
Humanitarian NGOs expect the death toll to rise as rescue teams gain access to isolated disaster zones. The International Red Cross Federation has appealed for €4 million in emergency donations. Those funds are intended for the purchase of rescue supplies.
Rémi Favre, an RFI radio reporter in largest city Rangoun, said that drinking water is scarce. “In Rangoun, the Burmese do not hesitate to criticise the authorities, who, they think, is not providing sufficient relief.”
The junta is keeping the brakes on
Western leaders have accused
The main worry on the mind of humanitarian organisations is the delivery of food, equipment and specialised teams to the area. According to Cyril Payen, the “handful” of workers already present in
The Burmese government granted the UN permission to fly 35 tonnes of humanitarian aid supplies and a rescue team into the country on Wednesday, but the aircraft will not leave
The United Nation’s High Committee for Refugees said that trucks transporting 22 tonnes of emergency supplies were stopped at the Thai-Burmese border, waiting to be granted entry permits.
Doctors without Borders (MSF) had teams in the country before the cyclone and they have started to provide relief, but the its head of mission in Burma told FRANCE 24 that requests for visas will not be processed until next Monday.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on Wednesday called on the Burmese authorities to facilitate the deployment of humanitarian workers and emergency equipment.
“Don’t give money to the military”
In an SOS-style appeal, the Burmese opponent insisted that donations and humanitarian organisations should “be allowed into the country and reach the people who need them most”.
Date created : 2008-05-07