US Aid Plane Lands in Burma

Official death toll at 32K; observers say it could be triple that
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2008 12:03 PM CDT
In this photo released by the U.S. Marine Corps, soldiers from Myanmar unload water from a U.S. Air Force C-130 Monday, May 12, 2008, at Yangon airport.   (AP Photo/HO, US Marine Corps, Sgt Andres Alcaraz)
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(Newser) – After days of negotiating, a US aid flight landed today in Rangoon, the BBC reports. It’s the latest sign Burma’s military junta might be relaxing its restrictions on foreign aid—a French charity’s plane also touched down—but relief workers still aren’t allowed in to distribute the goods. The US has offered the help of 11,000 servicemen; that, too, has been declined.

Officially, last week’s cyclone has killed 32,000, with another 30,000 missing. Observers think triple that number could already be dead, and without more powerful relief efforts, 1.5 million could perish. One Save the Children official in Burma estimated about half of the people who needed aid were getting it, and the Red Cross declared the operation “nowhere near the scale required.”