First Major Aid Finally Reaches Cyclone Survivors

But some planes grounded as officials dicker with junta to get help to villagers
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2008 5:33 AM CDT
Airport staff load crates of United Nations aid including medicine, tents and food bound for Myanmar onto a cargo aircraft.    (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
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(Newser) – A single United Nations plane laden with relief supplies has finally landed in Burma's Irrawaddy Delta region—six days after a pulverizing cyclone killed an estimated 100,000 people, AP is reporting. Three other UN planes are expected to land later today, but flights operated jointly by the US and Thailand remain grounded as officials continue to negotiate with Burma's reluctant military leaders to allow foreign aid into the stricken region, Reuters reports.

"They need assistance today. They needed it yesterday," said one UN official. "They can't wait. It's crucial that food, water, shelter and medical supplies need to go in right away." Relief experts usually aim for major supplies to reach a struggling population within 48 hours.