The United Nations said
A U.N. report said Saturday that emergency relief from the international community had reached an estimated 500,000 people. But the junta insists it will handle distribution to victims of Cyclone Nargis.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was sending U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes to
Holmes was expected to arrive Sunday evening in
"He’s going at the request of the secretary-general to find out what’s really going on the ground, to get a much better picture of how the response is going and ... to see how much we can help them scale up this response," Pitt said. Details of the visit, she said, were still being worked out.
The U.N. report said all communications equipment used by foreign agencies must be purchased through
State-run radio said the government has so far spent 20 billion kyat (about $2 million) for relief work and has received millions of dollars worth of relief supplies from local and international donors. It said the government was distributing assistance promptly and efficiently to the affected areas.
State radio on Sunday also said the government was providing "full health services" to the victims, saying that except for the "usual diseases" there were no epidemic outbreaks.
Aid agencies were not convinced and international outrage mounted over
Save the Children, a global aid agency, said Sunday that thousands of young children face starvation without quick food aid. "We are extremely worried that many children in the affected areas are now suffering from severe acute malnourishment, the most serious level of hunger," said Jasmine Whitbread, who heads the agency’s operation in
In one town near
"The farther you go, the worse the situation," said an overwhelmed doctor in the town of
The government flew 60 diplomats and
"It was a show," Shari Villarosa, the top
A French navy ship that arrived Saturday off Myanmar’s shores loaded with food, medicines and fresh water - a potentially lifesaving cargo - was given the now-familiar red light.
"We have small boats, which could allow us to go through the delta to most of the regions where no one has accessed yet," he said. "We have small helicopters to drop food, and we have doctors."
The USS Essex, an amphibious assault ship, and its battle group also have been waiting to join the relief effort. U.S. Marine flights to Yangon from their makeshift headquarters in Utapao, Thailand, continued Saturday - bringing the total to 500,000 pounds (227,000 kilograms) of aid delivered - but negotiations to allow helicopters to fly directly to the disaster zone were stalled.
The International Red Cross says the death toll alone is probably about 128,000, with many more deaths possible from disease and starvation unless help gets quickly to some 2.5 million survivors.
But seeing that the help gets to the victims does not appear to be a top priority for
The Indian team consists of 50 doctors and paramedics from the Army Medical Corp., said Indian Air Force spokesman Wing Cmdr. Manish Gandhi. He could not immediately say if they would be allowed to go to the delta.