Burmese Junta Still Blocking Cyclone Aid

'Second disaster' looms if aid is not allowed in
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2008 4:52 AM CDT
Houses destroyed by Cyclone Nargis in a village in the hardest-hit Irrawaddy delta region of Myanmar. More than 20,000 are known to be dead.   (AP Photo/Burma News Agency via Xinhua News Agency)
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(Newser) – Emergency supplies for some 1.5 million Burmese desperately in need of help are ready to be flown into the cyclone-stricken regions—but the military junta is still blocking delivery. Only two UN planes have been allowed to land in Burma. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon tried unsuccessfully to telephone Burma's top general to make a personal appeal to allow more relief supplies to get through, reports the Washington Post.

"It is very frustrating, if you look at the people's suffering," said the American ambassador to Thailand, where US planes wait for clearance to deliver food. The Burmese government's reluctance could trigger a new catastrophe, warned a UN spokesman. "Burma has got to open itself up to a major international effort very soon if we are not to face a second disaster, where infectious disease and other problems start to take a significant toll," he said.