UN chief arrives in cyclone-hit Myanmar

May 22nd, 2008 - 5:31 pm ICT by admin  

Yangon, May 22 (ANI): United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Myanmar on Thursday to press that countrys military junta to accept a full-scale international relief operation for cyclone survivors.
Moon, who is the first UN chief to visit Myanmar since 1964, said he had come with “a message of hope” for the cyclone victims.
Myanmars rulers have blocked large-scale international aid, and foreign agencies say they are delivering just 30% of what they would like to give.
According to the BBC, people are extremely angry about the way the government has dealt with the disaster.
The death toll from Cyclone Nargis currently stands at 78,000 dead, with another 56,000 missing. Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their homes and the UN says that fewer than a quarter of the 2.4 million people affected have received aid.
The generals have agreed that some UN helicopters can join the aid effort, but British, French and American naval vessels are still standing by off the Irrawaddy Delta, having been refused access to the area.
Ban’s visit to Myanmar is aimed at persuading the military government to accept more foreign help.
“I bring a message of hope for the people of Myanmar,” Ban said, after making an offering for the cyclone victims at the Shwedagon Pagoda, the holiest Buddhist shrine in Myanmar.
“I hope your people and government can co-ordinate the flow of aid so the aid work can be done in a more systematic and organised way,” he is reported to have told local officials.
Ban also held a short meeting with Prime Minister Thein Sein, and is due to tour the devastated Irrawaddy Delta region later on Thursday.
He will then fly to the remote capital, Nay Pyi Daw, for talks with Myanmar’s leader, Than Shwe, on Friday.
Ban will also attend a donor conference in Rangoon, on Sunday.
His visit follows that of the UN humanitarian co-ordinator John Holmes, who has described his negotiations with the Burmese government as painful and frustrating. (ANI)

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