Asia

Myanmar Cyclone Aid Caught in Red Tape

Military junta limiting ability of relief groups to deliver and distribute food, medicine, shelter.

On Friday, May 2, Cyclone Nargis and the 12-foot-high storm surge that followed flooded coastal Myanmar (Burma), leaving up to 100,000 dead and 1 million or more without shelter. Still recovering from the 2004 Christmas tsunami, the military junta in Myanmar was ill equipped to feed, shelter, and care for the storm's countless victims.

But as of May 9, the Myanmar government had refused to allow relief workers to enter the country to distribute aid. Such emergency food and medical aid is at risk of falling into the wrong hands or being resold on the black market. The government, according to reliable reports, had confiscated planes full of emergency rations from the U.N. World Food Program.

As of late Friday night local time, U.N. officials and Myanmar government leaders made progress in negotiations, and two flights of food were expected to arrive on Saturday. Myanmar has 51 million residents, many of whom live on less than $2 per day, the global poverty line.

Relief teams from major Christian ...

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