Thursday, June 5, 2008

Month after cyclone access to delta still a problem

Access to the Irrawaddy delta region is still a huge problem a month after the killer cyclone struck Burma, though visa applications have been granted in small numbers, international aid agencies said.

So far at least 143 international aid workers have been granted entry visa to Burma, said an official at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in Bangkok.

"There is some progress on that [obtaining visa]," said the official.

While many international aid workers have been provided access to the delta region they are restricted from staying for long periods, said an official at the United Nations information department in Rangoon.

"But definitely there is progress," the official said, adding that the UN and other agencies are pushing the regime to allow aid workers to stay up to 60 days in the delta.

"They can go to the delta but the junta decides how long they can stay," the official said.

--Read More: here

In Rural Villages, Life is Desperate

Residents squat by a river at their village near Bogalay.
Villagers continue to fish, wash and bathe in the river
where rotting corpses can still be sighted tangled in the scrubs.
(Photo: Reuters)

The shoreline of this island in the Bogalay River is filled with cyclone debris—fallen trees, pieces of houses, thatch and other household rubble.

I saw a yellow shape and then recognized it—the body of a man—devastated by sun and water: yellowish-white and bloated, hands across the branches of a bush.

--Read More: here