Visiting UN Chief Pushes Burma to Accept Aid

Junta refuses US supplies waiting nearby
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted May 22, 2008 7:07 AM CDT
Visiting UN Chief Pushes Burma to Accept Aid
Burma cyclone survivors work to repair their house which was destroyed by Cyclone Nargis, on the outskirts of Rangoon, Burma, Thursday, May 22, 2008.    (AP Photo)

(Newser) – UN chief Ban Ki-Moon witnessed cyclone damage in Burma today, on a trip to bring the devastated country a “message of hope” and push the junta to allow international aid for the millions left destitute, Reuters reports. “I'm quite confident we will be able to overcome this tragedy,” he said. But his work to open the doors to relief looks to be an uphill battle, the New York Times notes.

Burma’s official newspaper said yesterday that it wouldn’t accept supplies offered by American ships stationed outside its waters, saying there were “strings attached.” “We can manage by ourselves,” the paper said. But Ban is scheduled to meet the junta’s head, who had previously ignored his calls, as well as would-be international donors. The UN estimates 100,000 have died since the May 3 cyclone; Ban said relief teams have reached only a quarter of those in need. (Read more Burma stories.)

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