Burma Still Cleaning Up 6 Months Later

Cyclone killed more than 80,000, with more than 50,000 others listed as missing
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 2, 2008 7:18 PM CST
Locals stand on a damaged jetty in Yangon, Myanmar, Saturday, June 14, 2008. Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar in May and left 78,000 people dead and another 56,000 missing.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Six months after Cyclone Nargis smashed into Burma's coastline, killing tens of thousands of people, aid groups say once-lagging relief efforts have picked up pace but the task of rebuilding and recovery is far from finished, the AP reports. Foreign aid staffers were initially barred from cyclone-affected areas and the ruling military junta was criticized for its ineffective response to the disaster last May.

During a visit by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in late May, it agreed to allow in some foreign aid workers and formed a group to facilitate the flow of international assistance. Despite the slow initial response, "the relief effort for the first six months has been successful," said Ramesh Shrestha, the representative in Burma for UNICEF. "However, we cannot stop now." (Read more Myanmar stories.)