Friday, May 23, 2008

Myanmar to Allow All Aid Workers?

Given the recent past history of Myanmar's government in terms of allowing most relief workers into the country, a report today indicates that the government will now allow all aid workers into the country needs to be viewed a bit skeptically. Never the less, it's a positive development nearly three weeks after Cyclone Nargis tore through the region. The agreement with the United Nations also might be an indicator of just how bad - and overwhelming - conditions are in the Irrawaddy delta:

Myanmar's junta agreed on Friday to admit cyclone aid workers "regardless of nationalities" to the hardest-hit Irrawaddy Delta, a breakthrough for delivering help to survivors, U.N. officials said.

Western disaster experts, largely kept out of the delta and restricted to the former capital Yangon, welcomed the news but wanted more details on the deal struck by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and junta supremo Than Shwe.

"The general said he saw no reason why that should not happen ... as long as they were genuine humanitarian workers and it was clear what they were going to be doing," a U.N. official with Ban said...

The initial report of agreement doesn't discuss the military ships from the international community that are waiting offshore to deliver relief supplies. It's safe to assume that the Myanmar government isn't going to let the ships dock, but it seems open to civilian ships and boats offloading supplies. That's a start.

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