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    Myanmar approves UN aid flight for cyclone relief

    Hurriyet English with wires
    07.05.2008 - 12:08 | Son Güncelleme:

    Myanmar’s military rulers have approved a U.N. aid flight to take emergency supplies to the cyclone-hit country, the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said Wednesday.

    "The flight should leave Brindisi (in Italy) today with 25 tons of aid and some OCHA personnel on board," spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs told AFP. "We hope that this spirit of openness will continue," she added.

     

    It is not yet known where the aircraft will touch down in Myanmar

     

    Aid being transported from the U.N.’s emergency depot in Brindisi, southern Italy, includes water purification tablets, electricity generators, tents, tarpaulins, food, covers and mosquito nets, Byrs said.

     

    Cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar on May 2 and 3 leaving more than 60,000 people dead or missing in one of the world’s worst natural disasters.

     

    International agencies have painted a picture of devastation and urgent need, saying millions of people are homeless and without food and water -- while disaster experts wait in limbo, blocked by Myanmar’s secretive army rulers.

     

    Myanmar military helicopters dropped on Wednesday food and bottled water to villagers in the rice-growing Irrawaddy delta. More than half of Myanmar's 53 million people live in the five worst-hit states, called divisions, Reuters reported.

    As the army's relief operations kicked up a gear four days after the cyclone struck, state-run television showed footage of bedraggled survivors lining up on banks of mud to be flown by helicopter out of some of the worst-hit villages.

    The extent of the suffering has put pressure on the army, which seized power in 1962 and has largely turned its back on the rest of the world since, to allow in foreign aid and rescue teams.

     Photo: AP

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